Ecotourism based on observing iconic animal species in their natural habitats has become increasingly popular around the world and the Pacific Islands are no exception to this trend. Among these iconic species, sharks hold a special place as an attraction for tourists, including tourists who are not divers. One of the characteristics of this activity is the need for artificial feeding to ensure that there are enough animals present in a specific spot to be observed. So, while shark watching undeniably provides significant levels of income to local economies, it does, however, raise a certain number of problems in terms of its impact on the ecosystem, human safety and even a legitimate distribution of the dividends it generates (Clua et al. 2011). Another advantage of this activity is that it strengthens sharks’ economic value in the eyes of decision-makers at a time when these animals are generally being overfished throughout the world (Clarke et al. 2006), in spite of scientific warnings about the need to preserve these super-predators within their marine ecosystems. Against a backdrop in which environmental arguments have shown their limits over the past few decades in terms of providing any real protection, an economic approach appears to be both complementary and necessary to ensure the sustainable development of shark populations in the South Pacific (Vianna et al. 2012). The purpose of this article is to present the general outlines of such an economic approach, highlighting ecotourism as a virtuous use of sharks that makes it possible to generate income while maintaining them in their ecosystem. Nevertheless, this approach is not totally virtuous unless it respects the three fundamental aspects of sustainable development: 1) environmental, 2) social, and 3) economic. This goal will only be reached through the implementation of “payments for ecosystem services” as we will attempt to demonstrate.