Monthly Update: November 2013 – Presentations in Indonesia, more Shark Guardian Dive Centers and Thailand eShark Project grows!

Shark Guardian started November with a school visit to Dyatmika in Bali. 30 students had a great time learning more about their favourite animal! Read the full blog. The same afternoon it was on to BaliWISE to chat to the Indonesia ladies who have been studying there. More on that here! Both presentations were a wonderful way to round off a successful trip for Shark Guardian in Indonesia.

Monthly Update: November 2013 – Presentations in Indonesia, more Shark Guardian Dive Centers and Thailand eShark Project grows!

New Shark Guardian Shark Posters for Thailand and Indonesia!

The Rotary Club of Patong Beach, Phuket, recently made a generous donation towards Shark Guardian to produce educational posters about local sharks. We also wanted to include some information about conservation and how to get involved to help sharks. Each poster lists some of the sharks found in local areas with some really interesting information about each species. We have also included their size range and also their IUCN Red List conservation status. We currently have 2 posters:

  • Thailand Sharks – Andaman Sea & Gulf of Thailand
  • Indonesia Sharks

The Indonesian posters have been forwarded to the locations we recently visited and the Thailand posters are currently being distributed around Thailand. Contact us if you would like one at your school or dive location!

More Shark Guardian Dive Centers

Shark Guardian Director Liz Ward-Sing with manager Christoph and owner Philippe, Andaman Coral Divers, Phuket

Since our presentations and awesome shark quiz at the Aqumaster Opening event in Phuket in October, we have been having lots of inquiries about our Shark Guardian Dive Centers. Interest and support of Thailand eShark has also contributed to this. So along with three new Indonesia centers, we have three more in Thailand with more being signed even as we type!! It is fantastic that so many dive centers have embraced eShark and are uploading their data every day. This is what becoming a Shark Guardian Dive Center is all about: supporting us and our projects and promoting such through social media.

Another resort presentation in Thailand

On the 18th of November, Shark Guardian Director Liz Ward-Sing talked to the Green Leaf Committee at the Ramada Resort in Kaho Lak. 14 members of staff including the general manager, head chef and members of the human resources team learned lots about sharks. They particularly liked learning about local sharks and were very excited to learn more about local projects.  This was the second visit by Shark Guardian to a resort in Khao Lak and this will feature frequently in 2014 when Liz and Brendon return to Thailand.

East Timor gets another dose of shark education!

On the 28th November Brendon presented the Shark Guardian presentation an a very enthusiastic crowd at the Ocean View restaurant in Dili, East Timor. There is only 2 main dive centers in Dili, in fact the whole country of East Timor! Along with the 2 dive centers, local Instructors and Divemasters we also had some diving tourists, expats and Colin Melrose from the PADI Asia Pacific office in Australia join us for the talk about sharks and conservation!

Shark Guardian Ambassadors represent Shark Guardian in Pattaya

In March this year, Shark Guardian had a fun time at the Global Issues ServICE conference in Bangkok. Students lead sessions to Inspire, Connect and Empower others in subjects that they are passionate about. Last weekend at the end of November, some students from Shrewsbury International school represented Shark Guardian at the NGO fair. Then two students led some ‘How to…’ sessions to work with students from other schools. Their aim was to create letters to send to restaurants that serve shark fin soup, asking them to take it off their menu. More of this coming in a separate blog as feedback comes in.

Shark Guardian back in the UK!

On the 26th of November Liz visited the first UK school for 2013! Radcliffe Junior School hosted Liz as the shark mad audience learned more about sharks to add to their learning from a ‘Splash’ Module. More details on this coming in a blog soon!

Next week Liz and Brendon will visit three more schools as well as hosting an event for the general community. More school presentations are planned and it’s not too late to get Shark Guardian to a location near you soon!

Month 1 of Thailand eShark Data summary: 383 records logged in Thailand in 30 days! Average of 12 dives per day!

383 records logged in Thailand in 30 days! Average of 12 dives per day!

Activities include: 173 x dives; 14 x snorkelling; 2 x Motorboating; 2 x Beach Walking;

Total bottom time: 19,922 minutes (average 52 min).

82 dives with sharks observed – 28.5% of dives

57 dives with rays observed  -

48 dives with turtles observed –

31 dives with seahorses observed –

10 with dolphins or whales –

47 with jellyfish -

182 with garbage -

Comments included (excluding personal information, or specific information that could pinpoint locations or people):

“really nice leopard shark today just crusing around us for over 10 minutes before we had to go shallower”

“50 cm juvenile swimming a long the beach”

“all 3 leopard sharks was 2 meters or bigger”

“lots of blacktips from juvenile to fully grown”

“lots of big fishing traps around the dive site  “

“Site excluded” was a 25 meter and 2,5 meter fishing net that we removed. Inside a marine sanctuary.”

“… feeding from snorkeling boats +anchoring on the reef even if the marine park has put out mooring bouys.”

“swimming around with us for 15 minutes, at [Site excluded]”

“small school of dolphins seen from the boat around 6-10”

Found skeleton remains of a hawksbill turtle on the deep pinnacles on [site excluded'], …

“… one Whale on the surface, with dorsal fin and blowhole. Last time when all of us have seen whale, was during the briefing for the night dive after 6 pm. After researching on internet, by the look of dorsal fin, color and area… I’m pretty sure we’ve seen Bryde’s Whale. http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=167

For more information about eShark and recording data please visit our Thailand eShark Project page

Shark News around the world

Garuda Airlines Bans transportation of shark fins! The blanket embargo, effective on Oct. 8, has Garuda joining a growing list of international airlines taking a stance against the destructive practice. Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Airlines, Fiji Airways and Korean Air are among the carriers to ban the transport of shark fins, the statement read.

The airline’s commitment represents a major step in curbing the global trade of shark fins. Garuda previously transported some 36 tons of shark fins a year. Indonesia is the world’s leading source of shark fins — which are used as the main ingredient in a popular, and expensive, Chinese soup. The practice has grabbed the attention of conservationists as global shark populations decline.

Hilton Hotels Worldwide is still currently serving shark fin! Shark Guardian, together with other NGOs and other shark conservation groups are trying to get Hilton Hotels to change their policy to serve shark fin soup or any other shark related products. A recent statement from Hilton Hotels included:

‘Recognizing the very different cultural context and government regulations in the many places in which we operate, Hilton Worldwide has chosen to take a country by country approach to the issue of shark fin dishes.

Most Hilton Worldwide properties do not offer shark fin dishes. Others have been instructed to remove shark fin from menus and other promotions. In these properties it is only available upon request. We appreciate this does not eliminate the use of shark fins; however we believe it allows us to be sensitive to the cultures where we operate while paving the way for further changes.

In addition, for properties in Japan, we are working with a seafood supplier that complies with strict EU regulations on the capturing of sharks. This supplier offers full traceability, lands and processes the entire shark, and only catches species that are not currently marked as endangered.  This source should not be considered ‘sustainable’ as there is no sustainable way to hunt sharks for shark fin dishes; however we believe this is one small way to mitigate the impact of serving shark fin dishes in any of our properties. We continue to review this issue and work with our owners and hotels.’

Tell Hilton to go 100% Fin Free by signing this petition now!

Shark Guardian will keep you updated on this issue as it develops.