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Survey of sharks in Sabah


Have just finished a massive 2011 survey of most of the reefs in Sabah looking for remnant shark populations.  In 1996 my team surveyed over 360 dive sites for coral and fish abundance and counted the sharks. This survey is a repeat and the results are very sad, where we had 100 sharks in 1996/97 we now have 2.  That's a 98% fall in numbers.  From fish market surveys in 2011 we know that we only have 18 species, that's a fall from over 115 species recorded during the 1970-90's.  From Dive master data we have many reefs where no sharks are seen in over 2000h of diving.

There are a few bright spots, the data has persuaded the Sabah State government to look closely at sharks and they have promised to ban shark fishing in 2012.  The other bright spot is that several reefs have enough sharks to justify a shark protection zone.  Not surprisingly many of the shark populations are very close to dive resorts.  We are trying to get several areas protected,  consider diving with us and help the sharks on your next dive trip.

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