Should a restaurant feed sharks?
How can a restaurant pull in more clients? One way a beachside restaurant can increase its clientele is to provide some attraction other than the quality of their food.
In the case of a beachside restaurant on a tropical island one easy way is to dump the food scraps into the ocean at the same time each day and watch as a group of sharks (what is the collective name for a group of sharks?) have a feeding frenzy. Then spread the word that you can watch a shark frenzy here.
This idea works, as Exuma has experienced on at least two ongoing restaurants.
When Gail and I bought a parcel of land in the Hartswell area we thought we had gone to heaven without dying ! We had amazing views over what was a deserted island which was to become a National Park. We could swim and sail our Hobie Cat in calm waters.
Then a nearby restaurant, the Bonefish Lodge which as the name suggests, was a popular haunt of the fishing fraternity, decided that they needed to increase their restaurant trade. after some deliberation they decided to add shark feeding to their menu. For only a matter of days they chummed the Ocean waters adjacent to their verandah before the nocturnal visitors would arrive for their evening meal.
It worked ! Their customer numbers increased and they enjoyed a good meal and an entertaining half hour watching the terrors of the seas bare their teeth.
What was good news for the restaurant was scary news for us local residents. We feared that the sharks would associate humans with food. That they would use that association to chomp down on a swimmer.
Eventually the restaurant changed owners and the feeding was discontinued.
Many years later, one of Exuma’s most popular beachside eateries was faced with the problem of what to do with their increasing volume of food waste, when we only get one bin collection per week. Since its biodegradable, it could be dumped into the ocean. Plus if it is done daily towards the end of their opening hours, it would pull in more clients. Problem solved ! No more smelly waste sitting in a bin in the direct sun, attracting flies, wild dogs and other undesirables. And increasing their profits. Win Win.
The good news is that the restaurant have rethought this practice, and shark feeding has stopped.
After 20 years of living on this beautiful island, swimming frequently and not expiring a problem, I believe that sharks get a bum rap.
I acknowledge that there are (and always will be) cases of sharks attacking people but considering the number of people swimming on a daily basis, and the number of sharks there are in the ocean, the risk of being attacked is infinitesimal. I suggest that coastal sharks see swimmers frequently but do not attack. Ask yourself why would an intelligent creature attack a larger creature when they have the option of feeding on smaller prey that cannot defend themselves.
Just about every shark attack you hear of, involves the shark biting a limb then releasing their grip. Unfortunately that can often cause severe blood loss. Often the victim is a surfer with an arm or leg dangling in the water, or someone spear fishing with a speared fish struggling and attracting the shark.
So, take precautions such as: don’t wear shiny jewelry, if you are spear fishing and see a shark dump anything you may have caught, if you see a shark get out of the water but do not panic, exit in a calm and smooth manner. Enjoy your time at the beach.