The results are in! Hundreds of divers took part in the first Shark Trust Great Shark Snapshot at the end of July. All around the world, shark and ray survey dives were conducted by individuals, dive clubs, liveaboards and dive centres. From the UK to Australia, Palau to the Bahamas, Hawaii to the Philippines, the sightings poured in. Nearly 2,000 sharks and rays were recorded over the seven days of the Great Shark Snapshot, with 49 different species spotted in 14 countries.
Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Co-ordinator at the Shark Trust said: “I am delighted with how our first Great Shark Snapshot has gone. What I loved most was getting so many messages from people saying how much they enjoyed taking part. Many dive centres I have spoken to have now decided to run regular shark and ray survey events and will be adding their sightings to our Shark Log database.”
Whether divers were seeing their first shark, celebrating their 100th dive, seeing a shark or ray they had not seen before, or seeing sharks in huge numbers, the stories from the first Great Shark Snapshot have been uplifting. Some examples shared over social media during the week, using #greatsharksnapshot, include Lahaina Divers in Hawaii seeing 78 scalloped hammerheads, Tenerife Diving Academy seeing a duckbill eagle ray and Sundive Byron Bay in Australia seeing 58 wobbegong sharks on a single drift dive. The very first shark sighting to come in was from Thresher Shark Divers in the Philippines, who saw five pelagic thresher sharks on their first dive of the Great Shark Snapshot. Basking sharks, from Basking Shark Scotland, and blue sharks, from Celtic Deep, were spotted in Scotland and Wales respectively.
Aggressor Adventures had around 100 divers, on five of their liveaboards, take part in the Great Shark Snapshot. Cole Watkins, Director of Content Strategy at Aggressor Adventures said: “We were delighted to help participate in this year’s Great Shark Snapshot. Not only did our liveaboard staff enjoy conducting the census, but our customers did as well. We understand that this information is important in maintaining healthy ecosystems and gives a better understanding of how populations of marine species can and do change over time. Aggressor Adventures is looking forward to participating in the Great Shark Snapshot for years to come.”
Divers are in a unique position to be able to record the sharks and rays that they see. Their input to the Shark Trust Shark Log sightings database is crucial. Whether it is an exotic holiday of a lifetime, or diving the local coastline, all shark and ray sightings are valuable to help increase knowledge and understanding of sharks, skates and rays.
Non-divers also did their bit, with 380 eggcases, from eight different species, recorded in the Great Eggcase Hunt database. The Shark Trust will soon have a new app available to make recording shark and ray sightings, as well as eggcase finds, even easier. Watch out for more news on this soon.
The Great Shark Snapshot is a wonderful way for divers to get together, go diving, and do something to help shark conservation. The Shark Trust wants to thank everyone that took part in this first event. Dates for the 2023 Great Shark Snapshot will be released early next year.