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On 06 September 1999 11:33< James Morris wrote:
 
> I just received the following email from Mike McGittigan who is the head
>
> of Seawatch (http://www.seawatch.org):
 
(Snip)
> >Miguel said that he would like to get more scientific information as to
> >the importance of these sharks and any information about the killing and
or
> >protecting of Whalesharks in other places in the world. I would think
>> that info showing the economic impact to the local communities from
tourism
> >would be important. I saw a short segment on CNN a while back showing the
> >positive effect to tourism in Singapore? Did you see that or know where I
can
>> get a copy.
 
Now that intrigues me.  I wasn't aware that whalesharks played any role in
Singapore's inbound tourism market.  I've never heard of anybody going to
Singapore because of whalesharks - but I'm prepared to be educated on that
point!  :-)
 
I understand that there are Indonesian islands on one of the whalesharks'
migration routes where hunting takes place.  And I know that their presence
has certainly given dive tourism a boost in the north-west of Western
Australia, in the Exmouth area.
 
> Can you use your contacts to help us gather data to support the
> >protection of the Whaleshark.
 
It's very easy to go into a country or region with a full belly and a cause
and say, "Don't do this.  It's wrong!".  But when the alternative is
starvation - or economic ruin - for the people concerned, they may not be
disposed to pay attention unless you have a master plan that substitutes
their present practices for something less controversial!
 
And I'm not totally convinced that tourism - even so-called 'eco-tourism' -
is an environmentally friendly solution.  (It might offer wealth - but
there's a price to be paid!)
 
I may be cynical, but tourism - generally - often leads to the slow
destruction of habitats and food chains through pollution.  And while
'killing with kindness' may take a lot longer to achieve than by using a
power-head, harpoon, net or line, the result is still the same.
 
Now that I've hopped off me soapbox, can somebody please tell me about the
whalesharks of Singapore?  :-)
 
Strike