One of the largest projects ever designed to document the worrisome trend of declining shark sightings in Thailand has just been announced by project leaders - Shark Guardian
The Thailand eShark Project – Why?
The Thailand eShark Project has been organized through Shark Guardian to collectively gather data from as many divers in Thailand as possible. This project hopes to be the largest project ever undertaken in one country by divers for shark conservation over a 6 month period (01 Nov 2013 - 30 Apr 2014). Shark Guardian recently conducted a survey to gather information regarding shark sightings by divers based in various diving locations in Thailand.
eShark provides a simple way for divers and snorkelers to report the sharks, rays and sawfish they see, and don’t see (zero’s are just as important!), in a way that is used to assess and monitor populations, communities and ecosystems. Most these data are used to assess the need for, and success of marine management initiatives, including sanctuaries.
eShark surveys have been rigorously developed through collaborations with divers, statisticians, biologists and experts in the field of citizen science.
What will the Thailand eShark Project results be used for?
With overwhelming evidence that shark populations have declined dramatically over the last 50 years, there are still places where some shark species are persisting. Identification of these species and areas is an important step in determining the best method for recovery and protection. The Thailand eShark Project results will be used to bring awareness to declining shark populations in Thailand. Additionally to help improve protected marine park enforcement and reinforce the importance of no take zones.
See published papers below for more results of other projects.
Who can help and contribute to the Thailand eShark Project?
ANYONE that has ever dived or snorkeled in the ocean! All ocean going divers (professionals, recreational, and tourists) are candidates for this survey. The on-line surveys should be filled out after each dive you make – even if you do not see any sharks!
The Thailand eShark Project aims to evaluate how shark and ray populations have changed through time in Thai waters. eShark uses scuba diver’s observations to census shark populations around the world. Scuba divers possess valuable information because they census areas that fishers don’t- like coral reefs, seagrass beds, and pinnacles. Divers are also extremely valuable for monitoring no-take zones and Marine Protected Areas- where fishing is prohibited.
How can you help contribute to the Thailand eShark Project?
STEP ONE: Explore: Dive or snorkel your favorite reef in Thailand!
Why are the zero’s so important?
The zero’s are important for any scientific survey – it is the only way Sighting Frequency can be calculated. Also, the zero’s are extremely important for examining the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas or fishing regulations. For example, if divers report zero’s in an area for 10 years, and then a no-take area is established, then we can start to determine if, and how long it takes for sharks to respond to the protection.
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