Shark diving proposed in Saipan

4:12 pm on 15 February 2016

An ocean scientist and conservationist says a shark diving industry in Saipan could see the Northern Marianas reap millions of dollars in economic benefits.

Rick MacPherson, who is the founder of an online tool, Sustainable Shark Diving, said he had seen the benefits of shark eco-tourism in Palau, which now had an 18 million US dollar industry, and Fiji, which had a 42 US million dollar industry.

He said shark diving, when done safely and sustainably, was becoming more popular and lucrative, and was encouraging other nations to get on board.

"The steps for a new destination considering this just like Saipan, is the recognition of the role that healthy sharks play to the environment, to food security, to coral reef health, that there is a sustainable industry that is possible through shark dive tourism in Saipan."

Reef sharks.

Photo: Don Silcock / Cultura Creative