An oceanic sunfish, tethered alive through its eye sockets to an artisanal fishing boat, drifts almost lifeless as it is pulled toward shore. fishermen in the remote region of alor in indonesia have been known to catch these fish and drag them to tourist boats hoping to make a bit of money by offering ‘selfies’ with the world’s heaviest bony fish. as conservationists we have to be careful what we lobby for. while it is true that tourism can present a lucrative and benign alternative to unsustainable fishing or poaching, there is a dark side to tourism as well. as the demand to have up-close encounters with charismatic marine megafauna grows, unrealistic expectations are often satisfied through reckless, even heinous practices. oceanic sunfish have proven to be a drawcard for marine tourism in indonesia. however, as globally threatened species, science-based management strategies, incorporating codes of conduct and best practice protocols, need to be swiftly developed and adhered to if the sustainability of this tourism industry is to be ensured. for a bit more context we unexpectedly came upon this tethered sunfish while on expedition in alor. blind, wounded and near death there was no way to save this particular individual. the fishermen were strongly chided for their needless cruelty and encouraged to euthanize the animal. by shedding light on complex conservation issues and providing the science needed to safeguard populations at risk, my organization the @marinemegafauna foundation works to save ocean giants from extinction. to learn more about extinction risk please check out the @everydayextinction feed.