In 2014 Shark Guardian has started to do a quarterly round of of our activities as well as whats happening around the world with regards to shark and marine conservation. Here you will find links to some our previous blogs, news articles from around the world and action links you can use to get more involved with Shark Guardian and conservation.
December 2013/ January 2014: Shark Guardian UK School TourShark Guardian at Kings College Junior, Wimbledon. London
In December 2013 and January 2014 Shark Guardian visited 14 UK Schools presenting to over 3,300 students! All the students and teachers in the UK schools were very excited to have Shark Guardian come in and present a topic that is very exciting and also very important. One of the most surprising things that everyone learnt was that there is over 30 different species of sharks around the waters of the UK. Sharks are important for the balance and health of our oceans and other species that live within it. Many more UK students are now inspired to learn more about our oceans and to get involved with shark conservation. Shark Guardian also held several public and fundraising events in the UK to educate the general public and local divers about sharks. To read more about out school visits in the UK please follow the links below:
February 2014: Shark Guardian Dubai School Tour
Shark Guardian has been wanting to visit Dubai for more than a year so were super excited to receive funding from Global Ocean UK Charity to allow our goal to be fulfilled. From 1st to 13th February 2014, Shark Guardian visited 13 different schools as well as presenting to the general public. By the end of our tour of schools, plus with several public events in the VOX cinema, we had presented to over 5,000 people about sharks and conservation. Read more about our activities from the first week (Part 1) and second week (Part 2).
Before we left Dubai we made sure that we left something behind for all the students that we visited in the various schools. This included some amazing educational booklets supplied by Global Ocean. Additionally, during our presentations we announced a competition for the students. The competition was designed to motivate students to come up with a poster about sharks and conservation. The best 3 posters were chosen by the the schools and they won some shark prizes. Then a panel of judges chose the best of the 3 posters that will be entered into a book and presented to the Sheik Mohammed of the UAE. See the competition winners here!
Thailand eShark Project Update November 2013 - March 2013
The data collected by volunteers for the Thailand eShark Project will be used to raise awareness of declining shark populations in Thailand to the general public, Thai government and the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Thailand. Additionally it aims to help improve protected marine parks with the goal of creating shark sanctuaries. The identification of shark species and areas is also an important step in determining the best method for recovery and protection.
By the end of December 2013 we had just over 1,000 data entires received by the local community of divers, snorkelers and people with sightings of animals from either a boat or from shore. Since then, we have been receiving almost 1,000 more entries every month. By the end of February we had just under 3,000 data entries.
The data shows 11% of shark sightings throughout the entered data and has continued to be fairly consistent as data entires increased. This information will be used to compare with data entered over several years to get an idea of shark sightings over a long time period. The general feeling is that shark sightings have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years which would indicate a need for great protection for sharks in Thailand.
It's simple, easy and fun to take part - anyone can contribute!
Step 1: Dive, snorkel and explore the reefs of Thailand
Step 2: Log and report your shark observations to the eShark database, even if no sharks were observed!
Step 3: If possible, report all your past Thailand dive logs into the eShark database including your shark observations
Shark Guardian Presentations for divers in Khao Lak, Phuket and Koh Lanta
In February and March we gave several presentations in Thailand for local diving communities. It was also a chance for us to thank all the divers who have been submitting their data for the Thailand eShark Project as well as motivating more people to get involved. Our first presentation was in Khao Lak on 22nd February 2014 together with Dr Fabrice Jaine from the Marine Mega Fauna Foundation who spoke about Manta Rays. We had a really great turn out of over 50 people attending to learn more about sharks and manta rays. Brendon and Liz then traveled to Koh Lanta in Krabi, Thailand to give several more talks and presentations about sharks and the Thailand eShark Project to dive centers and professionals on the island. This was followed by presentations in Phuket at the Green Man on Phuket with about 60 people attending. Liz also went to give another talk at the British International School the following day. We went back to Khao Lak for another follow-up presentation on the 20th of March and have more planned in Krabi and the east coast soon.
News from Around the world
Indonesia declares itself the worlds largest Manta Ray sanctuary
Indonesia is now the world's largest sanctuary for manta rays, after officials were persuaded by evidence that the gentle giants known for delighting tourists are worth more alive than dead.
The government announced that manta rays within the archipelago's 5.8 million square kilometers (2.2 million square miles) of ocean will be protected from fishing and export. It will take time and cooperation at multiple levels to enforce the ban on poaching in the biggest global shark and ray fishery. Lets hope that sharks are not too far off their radar! Read the full article here.
Western Australia Shark Cull: Latest update
The use of 72 drum lines to bait and hook large sharks in Western Australian waters was implemented in January 2014. The state government, led by Premier Colin Barnett and then Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell, developed the policy in response to a total of seven fatal attacks off WA in the years 2010 to 2013. The policy authorizes and funds the deployment of drum lines near popular beaches: baited mid-water hooks designed to catch and kill great white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks. All sharks found hooked but still alive and measuring over 3 metres in length are to be killed and their bodies disposed of at sea. The principle behind the policy is to reduce the threat of shark attacks at popular coastal locations. It aims to achieve this by reducing the number of potentially life-threatening sharks by attracting them to baited hooks, rather than to human activity.
Why does shark culling NOT work?
- 1. No evidence suggests that shark culling reduces shark attacks anywhere in the world.
- 2. Setting up baited drum lines will only attract large sharks to that area anyway, where usually they may only pass through.
- 3. After sharks are dragged by line they are shot 4 times at close range and then dumped at sea. Possibly attracting more sharks.
- 4. Many sharks listed as 'Vulnerable' by the IUCN Red List including internationally protected Great White Sharks are going to be killed by these drum lines.
Upcoming Shark Guardian Events and Activities in 2nd Quarter 2014:
APRIL 2014: Chiang Mai and Bangkok School visits
May 2014: Hong Kong School visits