Thailand eShark Project Update

eShark posters available now

Since December 2013 the Thailand eShark Project from Shark Guardian has been the largest and most successful citizen science project in Thailand. This database aims to collect shark or no shark observations by divers, snorkelers or swimmers anytime people are in or near the water.

How is the Thailand eShark Project data being used?

The Thailand eShark Project results is used to raise awareness of declining shark populations in Thailand to the general public, Thai government and the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Thailand. Additionally, to help improve protected marine parks with the aim of creating shark sanctuaries. The identification of shark species and areas is also an important step in determining the best method for recovery and protection.

Thailand eShark Project Update – Dec 2014

Eshark1

After a full year since the launch of the Thailand eShark Project, 6539 data entries were recorded from divers all over Thailand. the result was really amazing and started already to produce some interesting results. By the end of April 2014 the data showed that compared to the amount of activities logged, sharks were only seen in 8.2% of the time during these activities. This was a slight decrease compared to the end of April 2014 from 12.8%. This could be that we had more people entering data even when sharks were not seen, as apposed to when people only entered the data when sharks were seen.

Why enter data even when no sharks are sighted?

Zero shark sighings 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.

Thailand eShark Project Update – Mar 2015

eshark2

At the end of March 2015 our data entries increased to 9,063 (2,524 entries in 3 months) and this time there was an increase in shark sighting around Thailand which rose to 17.8% with a total of 1,615 sharks recorded. There certainly has been an increase in whale shark sightings this high season as well as an increase in Black Tip Reef Shark sightings. The Black Tip Reef sharks appears to be the most commonly sighted shark in Thailand especially by snorkelers. This data also suggests that there may be a ‘shark season’ in Thailand where more sharks are sighted in a particular time of the year. This is why having people enter their historical data would be very valuable and interesting to compare.

eshark3

The image above provides some additional information from the 9,063 data entries. Here you can also see the percentage of rays, turtles, seahorses and garbage sighted during the water activities by the data entries provided. What is a worrying factor is that almost one quarter of all data entries recorded garbage or marine debris during activities. Once again outlining that more must be done to keep our oceans clean to protect our marine life.  

Continue to enter your historical, present, and future activities into the eShark database

Historical dive logs provides valuable data for the past which helps to build a platform of information to compare over a long term period. So get your old log books and start entering your data! Record all your dive or snorkel activities in order for us to collect data and use it for shark and marine conservation worldwide.

The Thailand eShark Project will continue until the end of April 2015. However historical data and future data is still being collected and updated continuously. Please make sure that you collect as much data as possible for the rest of April 2015 and beyond! 

Step 1: Dive, snorkel and explore the reefs anywhere in the world

Step 2: Log and report your shark observations to the eShark database, even if no sharks were observed!

Step 3: If possible, report all your past dive logs into the eShark database including your shark/ no shark observations

DOWNLOAD THE THAILAND ESHARK LOG SHEET

REPORT YOUR SHARK OBSERVATIONS TO THE ESHARK DATABASE

THANKS TO

GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL

GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL for helping to collect and enter data for Thailand dive centers

 

aql&aqm-low

 

Manta and shark madness in Khao Lak with the Marine Megafauna Foundation

The Khao Lak community, Phang Nga Province, Thailand, received a special treat on Monday 9th March 2015. Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) scientist and researcher Dr Fabrice Jaine collaborated with Shark Guardian for a night of mantas and sharks! Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing started the evening with a shark quiz! Then the focus was on whale sharks. Dr Fabrice followed by talking about the MMF and the important work they do. He then went on to explain ways that we can all get involved in manta photographic identification to track mantas wherever they may be.

Shark Guardian with Dr Fabrice Jaine and staff and guests linked to manta Ray of Hope expedition

Shark Guardian with Dr Fabrice Jaine and staff and guests linked to manta Ray of Hope expedition

Whale sharks in Thailand

Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing

Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing

Brendon reinforced the whaleshark.org program that Shark Guardian have been promoting since the start of the Thailand high season of diving. Once again there have been numerous whale shark sightings in Thailand waters over the past 5 months. Shark Guardian hope that with increased logging of photographs on the whaleshark.org database we can start to better understand the populations of whale sharks that frequent the east and west coasts of Thailand.

Manta rays in Thailand and Burma

Dr Fabrice jaine from the Marine Megafauna Foundation

Dr Fabrice jaine from the Marine Megafauna Foundation

Hot off the latest Ray of Hope expedition around the Similan Islands and Burma, Dr Fabrice Jaine was excited to share more information about manta rays. The audience was gripped to hear about the 2 different species of manta ray. Fabrice continued to talk about manta photo identification, very similar to the whale shark ID shots that Brendon discussed in relation to whale sharks.

Citizen Science

Both Brendon and Dr Fabrice Jaine highlighted how easy it is for everybody to take part in cutting edge research. This is citizen science in action – anyone can take part in research, you do not need to be a scientist!! And both the manta ray and whale shark photographic ID programs are extremely important to monitor these marine species that are vulnerable to extinction as classified by the IUCN red list. Check out the Shark Guardian and MMF websites for more ways to take part in these and other projects.

Thanks!

A big thank you to the Sparrow Bar in Bang Niang, Khao Lak, for hosting this special evening. The bar also donated profits from drinks sales on the night to both Shark Guardian and MMF. Thanks to everyone who attended on the night. Keep an eye on the Shark Guardian social media pages and website for more events in the coming months!

Dr Fabrice Jaine with Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Dr Fabrice Jaine with Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Phuket Diving Community join Shark Guardian at Aquamaster

Shark Guardian were delighted to be back presenting in Phuket, Thailand, on 5th February 2015. Lots of new faces in the crowd enjoyed learning about Shark Guardians goals and objectives as well as getting an update on Thailand eshark and other research projects. A big focus was on whale sharks and the audience was very receptive to the new information given. Everyone learnt how easy it is to get involved in whale shark research worldwide.

Shark Guardian at Aquamaster in Phuket

Shark Guardian at Aquamaster in Phuket

Update on Thailand eShark Phase 2     

Shark Guardian focused on updating the Phuket dive crowd on Thailand eShark. See the reasons for this project and the summary of eshark phase 1 here.

Thailand eshark in Phuket

Thailand eshark in Phuket

Since the start of November 2014, divers and snorkelers nationwide in Thailand have been submitting their shark vs no shark sightings once more for eshark phase 2. With more than more than 7,000 data entries since November 2013, this information is crucial to show the declining shark populations in Thailand. Data is being used with the fisheries and IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of nature) to plan a National plan of Action for sharks as well as, what Shark Guardian hope in the long run, better protection of sharks. Shark Guardian also hope the results can go towards creating a shark and ray sanctuary in Thailand waters.

Remember current, past and future data is all important! And if you don’t have the time to input the data yourself, contact Shark Guardian and our volunteers will be willing to help you.

Whale sharks!

Whale shark education

Whale shark education

With frequent whale shark sightings again in Thailand since the start of November, Shark Guardian have been focusing on educating dive communities and the general public about the worlds largest shark. Important facts on anatomy, behaviour and distribution were shared. Then the focus was on whale shark research, which Shark Guardian is leading in collaboration with whaleshark.org and wildbook. Find out how you can get involved here.

Thank you Aquamaster and the Phuket dive community!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the well attend evening. Shark Guaradian enjoyed chatting to people after the event too and made some important contacts to help their research. Shark Guardian thank Aquamaster, Phuket, for the room use and hospitality for the evening. Plus their crucial support in producing and distributing Thailand eshark phase 2 posters. If you or your dive shop or organisation would like to promote eshark then grab some posters from their office in Chalong.

Shark Education in Dubai: 2015 tour a huge success!

Dubai School tour 2015 has been a huge success for Shark Guardian. 12 schools and almost 3000 students and teachers saw Shark Guardian Directors Brendon Sing and Liz ward-Sing in action over a week long tour. Once again this tour was sponsored by UK Charity Global Ocean, aiming to spread shark education and awareness throughout the UAE. A fabulous way to celebrate our amazing sharks!

Shark Guardian in Dubai 2015

Shark Guardian in Dubai 2015

Excitement and enthusiasm starts the tour with a bang!

Book reading and presentation at Gems Royal Dubai

Book reading and presentation at Gems Royal Dubai

The educational school tour started with a return to Gems Royal Dubai. Two presentations targeted the 650 students in Key Stage 1 and 2. Shark Guardian enjoyed being back at this school, especially to showcase the new children’s book: ‘Sharks Our ocean guardians’ to the younger students. Combined with slides from the full presentation, the book reading certainly excited all students about the journey of Jed the hammerhead!

Shark guardian with the DUNEHA group

Shark guardian with the DUNEHA group

In the afternoon we visited our friends at the Emirates Diving Association (EDA) presenting to the DUNEHA home school group. Fabulous to have a personal session with these students who were full of questions!

A busy schedule and so much passion for UAE sharks!

Shark jaws inspire students

Shark jaws inspire students

On to the American International School where the Year 10 boys enjoyed learning lots of new and interesting shark facts. The shark jaws loaned by IFAW UAE to help emphasise presentation content were a huge hit here and in all presentations. The year 7 and 8’s at The Gems Wellington Accademy in Al Khail were another audience full of questions. We think we have inspired some future Student Shark Ambassadors in these older students.

Changing student perceptions about sharks

American Academy, Al Mizhar

Shark education at American Academy, Al Mizhar

Shark Guardian found that, especially with the younger students of the UAE, there is so much fear about sharks. This was common on the last trip and also around Asia. This highlighted the importance  of shark education here and why the Shark Guardian presentation is so necessary. At Victoria Heights Primary and the American Academy (Al Mizhar) it was fantastic to see how students were converted to admire and respect sharks. The older students at the American Academy were also asking lots of question about learning to dive so they could see sharks! A great result! With the right education and understanding, we CAN change attitudes and then these same students will spread those positive facts far and wide.

A busy morning in Sharjah

Gems Westminster, Sharjah

Gems Westminster, Sharjah

Shark Guardian enjoyed returning to Sharjah and the Gems Westminster School. Years 3-5 then the secondary girls were fantastic audiences – but once again there was a need to change the false perceptions of sharks with these 600+ students. On to another return visit to Dubai English Speaking School to fit in with the sustainability unit for the Year 4 students. So much enthusiasm for sharks in this group – knowledge of sharks at the start was immense so Shark Guardian added fuel to this. As always it is even better to link the Shark Guardian presentation to current school studies. Shark Guardian know this group will use their new found knowledge to enhance their current conservation activities and pass on the great shark vibe throughout DESS in other years.

Shark education for the future: Getting the older students involved with Shark Guardian

Later in the Shark Guardian tour, a few excellent sessions were spent with older students who are very keen to enhance their knowledge about sharks further, as well as supporting the Shark Guardian UK charity. Shark Guardian firstly visited the Jumeirah English Speaking school in the Arabian ranches since one of the upper school ‘house’ groups have selected Shark Guardian as their charity for this year. Shark Guardian were extremely excited to meet students from this group, talk more about sharks and Shark Guardian, and plan a strategy for getting students trained as student shark ambassadors. Watch this space for feedback from this inspired group!

Dubai College

Dubai College

The Year 8 girls from Al Khaleej National school were another group to be inspired – so many questions after the presentation. These students really enjoyed examining the shark teeth, plus the shark fins that were handed around. Seeing the fins after watching a shark finning video really brought the topic close to hand, reinforcing how brutal and pointless shark finning is. The Dubai College was another captive audience and we look forward to strong collaboartions with these year 7 and 8 students in the future. Students even stayed during their lunch break to ask more questions and learn more about sharks!

A fantastic ending at the Dubai British School

Interested pupils at the Dubai British School

Interested pupils at the Dubai British School

The final day of the Shark Guardian Dubai Tour 2015 was a presentation to the 450 primary students at the Dubai British School. From the introductory video the children were gripped and Shark Guardian cannot wait to see some follow up activities from this group. This concluded 12 schools and nearly 3000 students and teachers. Shark education is definitely much needed in this part of the world and Shark Guardian are proud to play a role in it, as well as promoting the work of UAE organisations such as IFAW, The Gulf Elasmo Project,  Shark Watch Arabia and the EDA.

Sharing IFAW resources at Victoria Heights

Sharing IFAW resources at Victoria Heights

Save our sharks poster competition from 2014: Winners presented with their celebratory books

School competition winners at Al Khaleej National School

School competition winners at Al Khaleej National School

During the time in Dubai and Sharjah, Shark Guardian presented the student winners and schools who participated in the Shark Guardian/Global ocean 2014 poster competition, with celebratory shark books. The beautiful books showcase the works of students from the UAE which aim to highlight the importance of sharks, why we must protect them and why we should celebrate the 31 species of sharks that can be found in UAE waters. Of the hundreds of entires in to the competition, it was very difficult for the selected judges to choose winners. The book is a great final collection that really does highlight the education, awareness and attitudes the students have towards conserving sharks.

More books will be presented in an official capacity to NGO’s, celebrities and government officials in an event to be showcased in Dubai later in the year. Stay tuned to learn more about Shark Guardian and Global Oceans’ plans for more shark education in the UAE! As well as ways in which you could be a part of this wonderful project!

Thank you!

Shark Guardian thanks Global Ocean and everyone involved for supporting this tour and making it so successful. As Brendon and Liz prepare for the arrival of their very own Shark Guardian, they will be focusing on Thailand schools over the next month. Check our Facebook page and website for upcoming events near you!

Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

 

Childrens Book gets ‘world premier’ in Phuket School!

New childrens book ‘Sharks Our ocean Guardians’ was unveiled to the general public on 11th December 2014. After months of planning, drafting and an amazing creation by childrens author Gail Clarke, what better place to unveil the book than at the school where the connection to Gail began. Headstart International students (Phuket, Thailand) had also raised money in the project to ensure the Shark Guardian educational book can be delivered free to schools around the world.

Childrens Book release, Phuket, Thailand

Childrens Book release, Phuket, Thailand

Headstart International, Phuket, Thailand

Liz presents Headstart with a 'Thank You' certificate for their donation

Liz presents Headstart with a ‘Thank You’ certificate for their donation

Shark Guardian Director Liz ward-Sing was delighted to return to Headstart just over a year since Shark Guardian delivered a day of presentations there at the end of 2013. Liz thanked the staff and students for their help in the book campaign. Students brought money as a donation on a non-uniform day a few weeks earlier helping Shark Guardian with a big push to get the new books printed.

New childrens book is very well received!

Book reading at Headstart

Book reading at Headstart

Liz presented the new book with a book reading session in two groups. Both sets of lower school students were full of questions and comments – the educational value of the book immediately being highlighted. The students loved the evolution introduction with as ever a fascination with the extinct megalodon shark. Then on to learn about different shark species and the importance in our oceans. Finally the students welcomed the arrival of the main character, Jed the hammerhead, who we will follow on his epic ocean adventures in the book sequels. Happy students and shark education spreading once more in Thailand!

Get your own book now!

Shark Guardian continue to raise money for the book project to ensure as many books as possible can go to schools around the world for FREE! If you would like to help in this project then follow this LINK now. If you have an idea of where a book or books should go (anywhere in the world!) then email liz@sharkguardian.org right away! If you would like to purchase a book from our online store then follow this LINK now.

Cover: Shark Guardian Childrens book Part 1

Cover: Shark Guardian Childrens book Part 1

Thanks for all the support!

Shark Guardian has so far raised more than £1800 of the £2500 needed to secure production of the second book as well as to give most of the books away for free. A huge thank you goes to everyone around the world who has supported this project! A big thank you also goes to many Shark Guardian dive centers who have contributed.