Date: 06 December 2016
DOC’s Southern South Island Operations Director Allan Munn, says the Department had hoped to have resolved the permit issue by now. “We are working as fast as we can. However, the process for issuing permits is complex and has been further complicated by the legal proceedings before the High Court.”
The High Court is still considering whether DOC has the authority to issue permits for shark cage diving, and if so, whether it should consider public safety when issuing permits.
“The Department is aware that the shark cage diving operators have made bookings for the new season while they wait for new permits to be issued,” Allan Munn says.
“We are working closely with the operators to ensure that the activity continues in a manner that is consistent with the terms and conditions of their previous permits,” Mr Munn says.
Great white sharks are a protected species. About 100 sharks visit Foveaux Strait each year between December and June.
Shark cage diving involves tourists viewing sharks from a cage attached to a boat. This activity was unregulated for several years before DOC introduced the permitting system in 2014.
Under the Wildlife Act, DOC controls, manages and monitors impacts on great white sharks.
Given the protected status of great white sharks, cage dive operators must ensure their operations meet a Code of Practice that ensures the wellbeing of these sharks.
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