Code of Conduct for Great White Shark Cage Diving in the Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island Code of Conduct For Great White Shark Diving

The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is part of the pelagic-coastal and oceanic shark assemblage that regularly visit the surrounding waters of Guadalupe Island and which are part of the reserve. Worldwide, this shark species has received special attention from the international scientific community because its natural abundances have diminished as a result of indiscriminate fishing in some regions of the world such as Australia and South Africa. The great white shark is a vulnerable species, it has a low reproductive potential, late sexual maturity, slow growth rate and high longevity, therefore, in 2004 it was included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) . To be included in this appendix requires countries in whose waters dwells , to develop monitoring programs and control over their commercial exploitation . Due to this nomination , nations like Australia , South Africa and the United States , have implemented in recent years laws that forbids great white sharks fishing.

Guadalupe Island Great White Shark Information

In Mexico, the Great White Shark is included in NOM-059-SEMARNAT- 2010 as threatened species. Also, SAGARPA (Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food) guaranteed its protection along with other species of elasmobranches in the Official Standard NOM-029-PESC-2006. Shark and Rays Responsible Fishing, specifications for its use, this rule prohibits fishing and death of individuals of Great White Sharks in any context, this law was published in the Official Journal of the Federation on February 14th, 2007; as in January 27th, 2014, was published the agreement for which permanent closure to fishing for Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) is set to waters of federal jurisdiction of Mexico. The National Development Plan 2013-2018, through the National Program for Protected Areas 2014-2018, states that, because of Mexico’s broad representation of ecosystems, the biological and cultural wealth of our country, as well as ecosystem goods and service, it is vital for the development of Mexico and the welfare of all Mexicans. That is why, since its creation CONANP has focused its efforts to implement a social vision conservation , recognizing that it is possible to maintain the ecosystems of our country and its biodiversity , with the active and inclusive participation of society, particularly those whose livelihood and way of life are linked to the use of these resources. The waters surrounding Guadalupe Island constitute a region where an important natural concentration of Great White Sharks is observed during the months of July to January, which in recent years has generated a great interest among tourism service providers, both domestic and foreign, to conduct tours that aim to observe this species in the wild.

Given its biological fragility and an important ecological role in the coastal ecosystem of the island it is necessary to regulate and monitor these ecotourism activities by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), with the purpose of prevent possible impacts and disturbances affecting the behavior of the species and the natural functioning of the ecosystem. To this end, the Code of Conduct for Great White Shark Cage Diving in the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve was developed. As part of the strategy of sustainable management of the reserve was determined in Program Management Reserve tourism carrying capacity , considering the variables of physical space , depth and resilience of the ecosystem. The Manual of Good Practice or Code of Conduct is a set of actions to prevent incorrect practices in order to ensure rational use of resources, in this case the great white shark that regularly visit the coastal waters of Guadalupe Island. The decision to carry out this task aims at determining the guidelines which should hold the activity , due to ensure the conservation of the species and achieving sustainable development from an environmental , social and economic terms.

By the regulation of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve (RBIG) 1.1 The permit holders and their operators must know the DECREE in which was declared as natural protected, published in the Federation Offical Gazette on April 25th, 2005. 1.2 The permit holders and their operators will have to know the Management Program of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve, published in the Official Gazette on June 17th, 2011. 1.3 The permit holder is obliged to inform and collect the fees from their passengers of the corresponding right of the Article 198-I and 198 -III of the Federal Law and inform DRBIG about the collection. It will also be responsible for verifying that passengers carry their corresponding bracelets or conservation passports. 1.4 The permit holders and their operators shall inform passengers that Guadalupe Island is a Mexican island of federal jurisdiction, decreed as a Biosphere Reserve because of its biological richness, in terms of ecosystems as well as of land and marine species of flora and fauna, and that it is subject to strict regulations to prevent disturbance and degradation due to anthropogenic activities.

The permit holder will collaborate with staff from SEMARNAT, for the precise execution of the applicable regulations of the Reserve, accepting at all times the indications in regard to the protection of the area given by the staff of the Direction of Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve (DRBIG). 1.6 All permit holders and operators must operate in accordance with current and applicable environmental legislation, guided the information specified in this manual. It emphasizes that any violation to the previously indicated regulations will result in the sanction by the competent federal authority in the subject. 1.7 All permit holders must have the permits in their respective field, provided by the competent federal authorities. 1.8 The license holders are responsible for the actions incurred by operators, crew and passengers.

General Aspects Cage Diving Guadalupe Island

2.1 In all authorized vessels used to conduct great white shark cage diving activities at the Reserve, information should be made available to the public about the Biosphere Reserve legal protection framework. This material should be available at DRBIG. 2.2 The permit holder will provide room on board the vessel for the transportation of technical personnel of the Reserve, in such cases as this is required by DRBIG, and with previous notification. 2.3 The tourist operators shall have an insurance of civil responsibility and third-party damages, effective during the whole season that is covered by the permit. 2.4 The permit holders must notify, in writing, to the Ensenada Harbor Master copy to the DRBIG and the Mexican Navy, the dates of arrival and departure of the Reserve.

Prior to the start of activities all operators must have the authorization issued by the CONANP. 2.6 Prior to the start of each season, all operators must have the authorization of the SEMARNAT, the foregoing in accordance with the administrative rules 4 and 15 fraction III of the management program of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve. 2.7 The permit holder, his operator, crew and clients shall abstain from landing on Guadalupe Island, as well as from landing on other islands and rocky islands of the Reserve; they shall spend the night on the authorized vessel. Except in cases of emergency. 2.8 The permit holder, his operator, crew and clients shall avoid throwing, pouring or discharging any type of organic waste, solid or liquid residues, soaps o clean materials, or any other type of pollutant, such as insecticides, fungicides o pesticides, including cigarette butts, in the waters of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve. 2.9 The permit holders, operators and crews shall collect and transport on board all the garbage generated during the trip, to be discarded finally at the garbage facilities of the arrival dock (Port). 2.10 The permit holder, his crew and clients shall not carry firearms, darts, harpoons, explosives, pole spears, drugs or any other device or method that hurt any terrestrial or aquatic wild flora and fauna organisms, or shall they conduct any other activity that put at risk or alter the ecosystems and their elements.

The permit holder and his operator shall establish strict preventive measures to avoid the introduction of exotic species into the Reserve, and shall not transport any species from one community to another using their vessel. 2.12 The permit holder, his operator, crew and passengers shall not collect; extract or appropriate of species, wild terrestrial or aquatic flora and fauna products or by-products from Guadalupe Island Reserve. 2.13 The permit holder, his designated operator, crew and passengers shall not feed, bother, pursue, harass, hurt, mount, force any physical contact upon, capture, hunt, extract, retain or remove any marine organism inside the Reserve, and shall not alter or perturb the nesting and reproduction areas of birds and marine mammals.

4 The designated operator must ensure at all times that the activity does not interfere with the behavior of local wildlife. 2.15 The permit holder and his designated operator shall not conduct any unauthorized activity at the Reserve as described by the permit stipulated by the DRBIG. 2.16 The permit holder shall not interfere in sustainable productive activities of the local community, nor with the activities of restoration at the Reserve. 2.17 The permit holder shall make sure that his responsible operator, crew and passengers, refrain from providing the local community of inputs that are not allowed. 2.18 The permit holder or his designated operator shall inform DRBIG of any unusual activity inside the Reserve. 2.19 The permit holder shall submit to DRBIG at the end of each trip, the “Activity report”. 2.20 The permit holder and his authorized operator shall be responsible people with a documented knowledge and experience of the sea and the great white shark diving cage activities. The permit holder and his crew must have their official documentation complete and in order (with no past violations of any environmental regulation, and no criminal record anywhere).

The permit holder and their operators shall conduct his/her business in an honest and straightforward manner and maintain a high standard of professionalism. 2.22 Permit holders and crew shall be helpful and friendly to other permit holders and their crew, and strive to build up a good rapport with local fishermen and other users. 2.23 It will be an essential requirement for the provision of tourist service, to have their cord of the training that imparts the direction of the Natural Protected Area (ANP) on good practices for the activity. 2.24 Unless an emergency occurs, the use of small boats and /or inflatable boats is prohibited.

Safety 3.1 Permit holders at Guadalupe Island and their operators are responsible for all the passengers reported, they are obliged to ensure their safety and appropriate behavior of them during the tour and their visit to the Reserve. 3.2 The permit holder and his designated operator should implement safety measures for conducting great white shark cage diving activities, because no emergency services are available at the Reserve in case of accidents arising as a result of this activity. 3.3 The permit holders or their designated operator shall inform passengers of the operating procedures and safety, both aboard the vessel and inside the cages. 3.4 Permit holders shall ensure that their vessels only proceed to sea and operate in fine, settled weather conditions. 3.5 The permit holder shall ensure that a least one of a crew member with valid first-aid training, with extension for basic trauma training and oxygen management, shall be on board his vessel. 3.6 The permit holder shall ensure that the vessel engaged in white shark diving and viewing operations shall carry an emergency oxygen kit on board at all times and a complete first aid equipment in case of an emergency for a possible accident with a shark.