Shark Guardian Citizen Science 'Thailand eShark Project' a great success!

The Thailand eShark Project that started in November 2013 with the goal to collect as much data as possible by the 30th April 2014. With over 4,400 entries of data collected, the Thailand eShark Project has been a great success! The information gathered during the Thailand eShark Project is extremely valuable for conservation of sharks in Thailand. This is the first time that a project like this has taken place in Thailand where the local community got involved on a massive scale. People from all over the world have  helped to collect data on shark sightings while taking part in some kind of water activity such as scuba diving, snorkeling or just observations from a boat. This has certainly been an enormous citizen science project that has provided us with so much information that will be used for conservation initiatives in Thailand.

Shark Guardian Citizen Science 'Thailand eShark Project' a great success!

Long term project goal

The results from the Thailand eShark Project 2013/2014 will be used as a foundation for phase 2 of the project that will start on the 1st November 2014 and run until 30th April 2015. Now that we have established a baseline of information to work from, we can start to compare information gathered again in the following year around the same time. This will be vital for us to look at the long term reduced, or increased sightings of sharks numbers and species across Thailand. This information can then be used to establish action plans for improved shark conservation projects in Thailand.

Below is a summary of the data that has been collected so far. We are currently still in the process of collecting back data which still needs to be entered. However the graph below indicates the number of water activities relative to the number of shark sightings during those activities. Currently there is a 12.8% rate of shark sightings from gathered data. It is estimated that in previous years (between 2001 to 2009), the percentage rate of shark sightings may have been much higher than this in certain areas in Thailand. This is why the Thailand eShark Project was created and why it is still important for everyone to enter data from their old log books.

 

Thailand eShark Project Summary to date (as we are still waiting for back data to be entered)

Total number of records submitted from Thailand : 4406

Total number of surveys with sharks present is: 567 

Total number of surveys with rays present is: 647

Total number of surveys with turtles present is: 397

Total number of surveys with seahorses present is: 230

Total number of surveys with whale present is: 22

Total number of surveys with jellyfish present is: 540

Total number of surveys with garbage present is: 1110

The Black Tip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) – Is by the far the most sighted shark in Thailand according to the results from the Thailand eShark Project. The Zebra or Leopard shark is the second most sighted shark followed by the White tip reef Shark. During the Thailand eShark Project there was also a wave of Whale Shark sightings with more than 93 data entries inputted – this is really exciting! Due to the increased sightings of Whale Sharks in Thailand, a new project is in development to record and monitor individuals to see if the same shark returns to these sites in the future. This will help establish a migrating route and possible specific season and so we can learn more about their movements in the Andaman Sea.  

Commonly asked questions about the Thailand eShark Project

Why a 6 month project limitation?: At the beginning of the project we wanted to create a goal, a time scale to motivate as many people to submit as much data as possible within that time period. This way we could also provide as much results as possible to those who have taken part and contributed. Data has been submitted by scuba divers, snorkelers, people on boats or from the beach while in Thailand.

Can data still be submitted after 30th April 2014?: Absolutely, YES! The eShark data base is constantly being used. Please continue to submit your data. Please remember to also submit all your past dive or snorkel logs in Thailand to help build our data base platform for sharks in Thailand from past years! 

Will the Thailand eShark Project continue next year? YES! More information will be coming soon.  

A MESSAGE TO OUR SUPPORTERS

The success of this project really is due to all our supporters and people who have got involved for shark conservation. Hundreds of divers, snorkelers, beach walkers and boat passengers have helped collect data for this project. Hundreds of hours have been spent to help enter information into the Thailand eShark database. We certainly have been overwhelmed by the response to Shark Guardian for leading this project and by dedicated and passionate people helping to make a difference. Thank you to all those that got involved!   We will be feeding back the information to dive communities and the general public over the coming months as well as inspiring school children to take part. We will also be distributing more posters and leaflets. In addition we will be blogging and talking to people about the different species found in Thailand, linking this with data collected by Thailand Fisheries over the last few years.   We would also like to say a specific thank you to Aquamaster ThailandProject Aware andGVI World for their support for the Thailand eShark Project.