Videos showing a great white shark ramming a shark diving cage and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean has been shared online.
In the footage a shark, identified as Stouffer #194, appears to chase bait around a submerged shark cage. As the 11.5 foot (3.5m) male shark lunges for the bait it rams into the side of the cage and becomes stuck.
According to activist Arturo Islas Allende the shark was stuck in the cage for approximately 25 minutes and no one tried to assist the fish on Oct. 9, 2019.
He said Mexican authorities had previously advised operators to change the design of their cages to make them narrower so that sharks could not become stuck.
The Mexican government issued the following statement that confirms a good practices workshop took place.
“The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, through the Directorate of the Isla Guadalupe Biosphere Reserve, on July 4, 2019, provided an observation season start workshop, in which they were He [sic] specified to the tourist service providers that they had to make the corresponding adjustments to the design of the observation cage (spaces between bars of no more than 35 cm), and to accredit the modifications, as well as to attend other provisions established in the manual of good practices to protect the safety of tourists and the species.”*
Allende said the Mexican observer onboard the vessel should resign for “knowing what was happening and doing nothing”.
Allende identified the dive boat involved as being owned by diving entrepreneur Michael Lever of Nautilus Liveaboards.
In response to the incident Nautilus Dive Adventures released the following statement:
“There was an incident with a great white shark repeatedly charging one of our cages at Guadalupe Island in October towards the end of our 2019 season. We were horrified, very sad, upset and worried for both the shark and our divers. We stage approximately 50,000 white shark dives every year and have been running these trips since 2003. Our cages are in full compliance with all Mexican Regulations. Never in all our experience have we seen a shark exhibit this behavior. We own this. When the incident happened, we immediately notified the authorities, sent them video of the event and launched an immediate review and root cause analysis. There are more sharks than ever before at Guadalupe including a large number of juveniles. Our cages are being modified to do our best to prevent this from ever happening again. We are encouraging our colleagues with other shark boats to learn from this terrible incident and modify their cages as well.
– Mike Lever and The Nautilus Team”
In addition to the statement, a representative, who would not disclose the name of the vessel involved, said a video would soon be released.
Authorities strengthened regulations for diver operators after a shark was filmed thrashing about a cage in 2016. In that incident a shark became lodged in a cage and thrashed about for several minutes until it finally freed itself.
The viral video and a second entanglement incident brought attention to the industry as whole and ultimately led to tighter regulations and tougher permit acquisitions.
*Translation by Google