Shark-cage diving is in the spotlight, after a study published in the journal Conservation Physiology revealed the possible consequences of shark-cage diving.

Currently, great white shark-cage diving is offered in South Africa, Australia, the USA, Mexico and New Zealand, and has seen a boom as an extreme-adventure tourism activity. The study suggests that shark-cage diving is affecting the behaviour of great white sharks, making them 61% more active at times in which shark-cage tour operators are present. This is due to licensed commercial white shark cage-diving operators being permitted to entice sharks with regulated attractants.

The study’s lead researcher, Charlie Huveneers, Associate Professor at Flinders University, Australia, suggests that this could have potential harmful effects on the sharks’ energy levels. “This suggests that the cage diving industry has the potential to affect the energy budget of white sharks,” adds Huveneers.

The study goes on to state that as a result of this energy expenditure, sharks are spending less time on normal behavior such as foraging on natural, energy-rich prey like seals and sea lions.