2nd Great White Shark Breaches Dive Cage

Two different great white sharks have breached dive cages with divers in last 3 weeks, stirring the debate on shark chumming and wrangling
By UWPG News

For the second time in weeks, a great white shark has breached a shark dive cage containing divers. Both events took place with different sharks on different boats at Mexico's famed shark diving mecca, Guadalupe Island. To be clear - THESE ARE NOT SHARK ATTACKS - but situations where sharks have been excited by fish chum and 'wrangling' in order to bring them close to the cages for photo opportunities. The sharks came in to investigate food and found themselves entrapped in the bars of the dive cages.

We're not here to sensationalize these events, but to bring up the topic of altering the disposition and temperament of these sharks in order to get a thrill and close-up photos/videos.

Leave the sharks alone? Some will say that the sharks will stay away, and we need to bring them close to capture photos to raise awareness of the beautiful creatures so that we can protect them.

Bait the sharks in with chum? This attracts the sharks but doesn't dramatically alter their shy and inquisitive behavior. Is this the middle ground, where we can document the sharks without altering behavior too much?

Wrangle the sharks?  Now divers can get those camera-inside-the-mouth shots and tight shark portraits. But some argue that the sharks are hyped up by being being teased with food (wrangling is where chunks of fish are set in the water on fishing line and pulled away when the shark is about to bite, often right in front of the cages). Is this going too far?


There are opinions on all sides of the issue. If you stop shark diving, the sharks will undoubtedly act naturally as they have for ages. But there are also poachers idling in the shadows waiting for the shark diving boats to leave so they can illegally fish out the sharks to sell on the black market.

So what is the best course of action?  We want to hear from you on the Underwater Photography Guide's Facebook page post and our Instagram account.


So what happened?


Shark Cage Breach #2

The second, more recent, incident (caught on video below) shows a great white shark that was being wrangled with bait at the surface in front of the cage. The shark, in trying to bite the bait, swims directly into the bars of the cage, which was occupied by a diver. Sharks cannot swim backwards, so it swam forward, thrashing to escape the trap it now found itself in, slowly working itself through the bars until it eventually made it through and quickly swam away. The diver in the cage exited safely afterwards.

Here's the video:



Shark Cage Breach #1

The first incident, also taking place at Guadalupe Island but on a different boat, has been fully detailed in a Guadalupe Island Shark Trip Report on the Bluewater Travel website

This entrapment took place in a deep cage without any wrangling involved. The shark, attracted by the tuna chum, first swam over the cage, curiously biting the air supply hoses of the divers in the cage. To its surprise, the rupture delivered a huge cloud of bubbles. Startled, the shark went for the chum from the top of the cage, becoming stuck in the bars above the divers. The swift actions of the dive master kept the divers safe until the cage was raised to the surface, where the divers escaped. The team then tried to pull the shark out of the cage (essentially a gill net at this point) with a rope around the tail. After this didn't work, a dive master pressed in the shark's gills, which allowed it to be pulled out successfully. The shark also swam away in this event. Read the full report.


The great white shark became stuck in the bars of the cage. Photo by Peter Maguire, featured from Bluewater Travel's Guadalupe Island Trip Report.



Both of these events are receiving growing media attention. The first video has already received almost 1 million views on YouTube. It is our hope that all media publishers describe the events objectively and without over-sensationalizing the events simply because a shark was involved.


A great white shark attempts to bite a chunk of tuna on the surface before it is pulled away - a practice known as shark wrangling. Photo by Katie Yonker, featured from Bluewater Travel's Guadalupe Island Trip Report.


A great white shark passes divers in a cage at Guadalupe Island. Photo by Katie Yonker, featured from Bluewater Travel's Guadalupe Island Trip Report.


A great white shark inquisitively approaches the dive cage. Photo by Katie Yonker, featured from Bluewater Travel's Guadalupe Island Trip Report.



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