Australia’s shark cage diving industry is set to boom, with the announcement of extended licences for operators at Port Lincoln.
In a significant boost to South Australia’s tourism industry, the three licenced operators will be offered ten year licences.
Premier Jay Weatherill said Port Lincoln was the only place in the world where year-round cage diving brought tourists face-to-face with the iconic Great White Sharks.
“Shark cage diving has become a significant tourism drawcard for South Australia, growing by 30 per cent during the past three years,” he said.
“The shark cage diving industry sustains 70 jobs – many of them from the local community – and last year generated more than $11 million for the state’s economy.
“Ten year licences will enable the operators to invest in their businesses, creating new jobs and delivering important benefits for the regional and state economies, and providing more opportunities for visitors to experience one of the world’s most unique tourism attractions.”
Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said a review of licences and conditions in 2012 assessed the impact of the shark cage diving industry on Great White Sharks.
“The licence conditions include the use of attraction methods such as berley and the number of days cage diving can occur to minimise the impact to sharks,” he said.
“Importantly, shark cage diving takes place in some of the state’s newly-created marine park sanctuary zones, demonstrating that tourism and ecosystem protection can co-exist.”
Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said eco-tourism was growing throughout the world, and South Australia was well placed to capitalise on this trend.
“Shark cage diving is a unique attraction which we’re using as an important marketing tool to ensure South Australia is a must-see destination for overseas and interstate visitors,” he said.
“Tourism is worth more than $5 billion to the state’s economy, and if we can attract more visitors through great attractions like shark cage diving, we’ll be well on our way to achieving our goal of a tourism industry worth $8 billion by 2020.”
Premier Jay Weatherill
Minister Ian Hunter - Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Minister Leon Bignell - Minister for Tourism