Oct, 2019 CS/HB 401 was formally submitted by the Florida State Affairs Committee and Kristin Diane Jacobs, Florida House Representative and cosponsors Buchanan; Casello; Daley; Duran; Goff-Marcil; Gottlieb; Grall; Killebrew; LaMarca; Massullo; Mercado; Overdorf; Polo; Pritchett; Roth; Smith, C.; Stark; Stevenson; Watson, C.; Webb; Willhite along with companion bill 680 by Rules and Commerce and Tourism and Environment and Natural Resources and Hutson (CO-SPONSORS) Gruters; Stewart; Berman; Book was recently passed.
The law is not perfect for it allows some exclusions. It is a start and it represents steps in the right direction.
To assess the importance of sharks to Florida’s economy, Oceana sent surveys to 365 active dive operators in the state asking
- 1) How many total diving trips their business made during the last 12 months
- 2) What percentage of those trips were shark-related diving trips (a shark-related diving trip is defined as a trip where divers have expressed a desire for shark encounters and that the dive site chosen had a high probability that sharks would be present)
- 3) What percentage of their dive trips were specifically marketed as a shark dive (where divers expected, and were specifically told, that shark encounters were the primary objective of the trip)
- 4) What was the average number of divers taken on each dive trip.
Of the 365 operators that received the survey, 237 responded and results were weighted to represent all active dive operators.
Key findings from the study include:
- In 2016, shark-encounter dives generated about $221 million in direct expenditures, which fueled 3,797 jobs and more than $116 million in wages.
- Targeted shark diving, which is a subset of shark encounters, generated more than $126 million, including $67 million in wages and over 2,100 jobs.
- Total economic impact for shark encounters, which includes indirect expenditures, is over $377 million.
- Dive operators reported that more than 32 percent of their dive time was dedicated to shark encounters and that nearly 20 percent of their dive time was specifically for targeted shark dives.
What we wait to see is the bordering states follow suit letting the weight of the momentum carry the movement to Washington and finally closer to what we know is the right thing for the planet.
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