Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Carlos Garcia-Quijano


In the past ten years, Cape Cod, Massachusetts has become a notable hot spot for white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) aggregation, which can be attributed to an increase of their food source, the gray seal. This increase in white sharks has had many positive and negative impacts on the community. In recent years, some businesses have taken advantage of the increased white shark presence by offering shark viewing tours directly off the coast of Cape Cod. This study investigated the growth and development of the shark tourism industry by conducting eleven semi-structured interviews with members of the shark tourism community. Results indicate that providing shark tourism offers many benefits for providers, but there are sustained and emerging challenges within the industry. Sustained challenges include environmental factors, recreational boater disruptions, fuel prices, perceived obligations to report shark sightings, and negative perceptions of shark tourism. The rapid growth of the shark tourism industry has led to emerging challenges, including an increased number of providers, air traffic concerns, and research interruptions. These developments have raised questions about the sustainability of this industry and how much longer it can continue to grow. This thesis explores these challenges and subsequent conservations and management implications.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 08, 2024