60 Minutes runs updated feature on shark diving

This feature from 60 Minutes, , which originally aired in December of 2005 was updated on August 6, 2009. It covers the whole gamut of shark tourism and conservation. The segment does feature some footage that will clearly be seen by some as being detrimental to attitudes towards sharks and the shark tourism industry. Most notably a cage breach in which Simon implies that the divers would have “been toast” if the shark had not lost his bearing.

The lead-in to the segment also seems to state in a somewhat “matter of fact” manner that many people believe shark diving has resulted in an increase on shark attacks on beach-goers. It does seem to be somewhat balanced in featuring opinions of those both for and against shark diving, although I think it would have been more informative to see some references to research to support or contradict either point of view. I know there is at least one study on the effects of shark tourism on white shark behavior that was conducted in South Africa, which could have been relevant to the argument.

The segment started out with what I felt like was a somewhat negative attitude towards sharks from Bob Simon, in that he seems to be focused on fears toward sharks early on. However, Simon definitely seems in awe of the white sharks that he dives with in South Africa and even comments that the experience is less about fear than it was marveling at seeing white sharks up close. In the latter half of the segment, the focus shifts from shark tourism to the finning industry and the threat to global shark populations. By the end of the segment, Simon seems to be conservation-minded and even calls for people to give sharks a break.

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