Bull sharks are large and formidable animals. Muscular and armed with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, they intimidate even the most seasoned scuba diver. Like most sharks, they are always hungry, patrolling the water , looking for a feeding opportunity. While sharks almost never attack people without provocation, their reputation as cold-blooded killers strikes fear in our hearts.
This scuba diver in Fiji is drifting toward the coral edge that will take him out into the deep blue. But just as he reaches the edge and peeks over, two big bulls came charging up from the depths to greet him with an inviting smile. They are probably just curious, hoping that he might be spearing fish or that he was being followed by bait fish, but their rapid approach has left him nervous about leaving cover.
The bull sharks patrolled the ledge, turning and passing repeatedly beneath the scuba diver. It's hard to believe that they are not taunting or inviting him to come out from cover so they can have a little nibble, but experience tells this diver that he is perfectly safe. He also knows that the bull sharks in this area have become accustomed to humans and their controlled shark feedings. Controversial, shark feedings are creating financial opportunities through tourism for villages that would otherwise have to rely on selling fishing rights to commercial operations. Shark feeding attracts scuba divers from all over the world to come and see these sharks up close. In the process, they gain a new and deeper appreciation for these huge predators. A substantial portion of the proceeds is paid to the local village, allowing them to preserve their reefs instead of selling their resources.
It's a complex debate, but one thing that is not complex is that these beautiful but fearsome animals deserve our respect and understanding.