A strange phenomenon taking place just off the coast of Grand Bahama Island is bringing new meaning to the phrase tourist trap. Recently, tour operators have been inviting divers to sit on the ocean floor—sans cages—and watch as Caribbean reef sharks glide past them dauntingly during a feeding demonstration.

Though the practice has drawn some criticism, many argue that allowing people to see their favorite marine predators up close and personal will encourage more responsible measures to protect their dwindling populations. As author and undersea photographer Jeff Rotman, who shot this startling image for his book Underwater Eden: 365 Days, explains, “Sharks have become threatened and, in some cases, endangered from overfishing. It’s my purpose to show the beauty and majesty we are on the brink of losing if we do not take care of our oceans.”

Story by Alison Sherbach. This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2007. This story was added to MNN.com in June 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.