Sharks are a multi-million dollar boon to Florida’s economy with people wanting to spend more time viewing them on their home turf.
A new report from the ocean conservation group Oceana found that in 2016, shark dives generated about $337 million, fueled about 6,000 jobs, and $80 million in wages.
“Shark-based tourism, which depends on healthy shark populations, is a lucrative and rapidly growing industry in the U.S. as more and more divers recognize the beauty and awe of swimming with these magnificent creatures,” said Oceana campaign director Lora Snyder in a press release.
The report says that up to 25 percent of sharks ate threatened by the global fin trade, with fins from 73 million sharks going to market every year.
Oceana said the total U.S. Shark fin market was $1.03 million in 2015.
“In the long run, sharks in Florida simply generate more revenue alive and in the water, Snyder said.
From the press release:
Key findings from the study include:
· In 2016, shark-encounter dives generated about $221 million in direct expenditures, which fueled 3,797 jobs and more than $116 million in wages.
· Targeted shark diving, which is a subset of shark encounters, generated more than $126 million, including $67 million in wages and over 2,100 jobs.
· Total economic impact for shark encounters, which includes indirect expenditures, is over $377 million.
· Dive operators reported that more than 32 percent of their dive time was dedicated to shark encounters and that nearly 20 percent of their dive time was specifically for targeted shark dives.