1 Mar 2014

Paua divers welcome shark cage move

1:35 pm on 1 March 2014

The seafood industry is welcoming a move by the Government to require shark cage tourism operators to get permits, which it says will protect people diving for paua.

Conservation minister Nick Smith has announced the permit scheme for companies offering people the chance to get up close to sharks in a cage, and says they are likely to be banned from using bait.

Chairman of the Paua Industry Council Storm Stanley says shark cage tourism may change the behaviour of great white sharks and increase the risk of shark attacks.

He says the paua industry has been urging the government to ensure shark cage diving is safer for years.

But commercial fisherman and diver from Stewart Island Russell Keene says the new regulations are a money spinner by the Department of Conservation.

Mr Keene says there are already laws prohibiting changing an endangered species' behaviour, and DoC should be enforcing them.