100% AWARE Partner Scuba Junkie organised Shark Week this March in Pulau Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia. The event kicked off spectacularly with the tagline - '400 million years to perfect - 30 years to almost destroy' to inspire support for their shark conservation efforts.
In Mabul shark week participants were buzzing from seeing 147 sharks and rays in ONE day! Don’t you all wish you were diving around Mabul! On the first day of Shark Week, a lucky group of divers saw a whale shark and a breaching thresher shark at Sipadan, and at Si Amil all divers saw a school of over 50 devil rays!
But despite this great experience Scuba Junkie Shark week aims to raise awareness about the threats to sharks and rays.
“Sharks are under dire threat worldwide, with many species facing extinction. In addition, many people hold negative perceptions of sharks, which is a hindrance to conservation efforts. Our shark week will focus on amazing, yet responsible information about sharks – which are incredible creatures, their lives needing no negative embellishments. We also wanted to show our support for Project AWARE - so today, as part of our Shark Week, we're holding a sponsored 8km relay snorkel around Mabul to raise funds for Project AWARE. You can help us play a critical role in saving sharks by sponsoring us – thank you” said organiser Cat Cassidy.
“A healthy and abundant ocean depends on predators such as sharks keeping ecosystems balanced. As PADI divers, we want to protect our oceans, we have a responsibility for the marine environment we love. Sharks may be the apex predators in the oceans, but they are still vunerable to human overexploitation - they grow slowly and produce few young, and current fishing and finning activites are having devastating effects on population numbers, which will take generations to recover from, if they manage to do so at all," added Cat.
Environmental Projects Manager for Scuba Junkie, Rohan Perkins, said "I am very proud of the support that the Shark Week has received from our guests, staff and local residents. It is support such as this that has enabled Scuba Junkies' Shark Education Awareness Survival (SEAS) project to grow over the years, leading to us, in conjunction with other concerned organisations, to form the Sabah Shark Alliance, which is dedicated to pushing shark conservation efforts in Sabah to the fore."
Earlier in the week Scuba Junkie organised two days Dive Against Debris events including reef and beach cleans around Mabul. Their network of friends created shark sandcastles on beaches around the world and shared their photos on the Scuba Junkie Facebook profile to show their support. And international donations are rolling in for the Finathon, an 8km relay snorkel around Mabul, you can support the swimmers by donating online: www.justgiving.com/Scuba-Junkie/
Thankfully, divers are some of sharks’ closest and most influential allies. Together, we can create a powerful, collective voice to lead global grassroots change. Good luck to all the Finathon swimmers today and a FINtastic thank you to the Scuba Junkie team.
Photo Credit Duncan Oliver - Finathon swimmer and Scuba Junkie diver
Support their Finathon: www.justgiving.com/Scuba-Junkie/