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Marine Life & Conservation

Great Shark Snapshot Results Are In!

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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 two thousand sharks and rays were recorded over the 7 days of the Great Shark Snapshot. 49 different species were spotted in 14 countries.

Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Coordinator 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 5 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.

Prodivers Instructors and Manta Trust Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives

Aggressor Adventures had around 100 divers, on 5 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.

Thresher Shark Divers in The Philippines

Non-divers also did their bit, with 380 eggcases, from 8 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.

For more information about the Great Shark Snapshot: https://www.sharktrust.org/the-great-shark-snapshot

Marine Life & Conservation

Help protect our marine environment with BSAC’s new Shore Surveyor course

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BSAC has partnered with Scottish environmental charity, Seawilding, to offer everyone the chance to help champion the marine environment with the new Shore Surveyor course.

Delivered by eLearning, Shore Surveyor has been designed to engage people, particularly children and young people, in the issues that face our precious marine life. With a focus on the UK’s native oyster and seagrass beds, this eLearning course equips participants with the skills needed to help identify seashore-based habitats and record what they find.

Shore Surveyor is open to everyone, whether they are BSAC members or not.

Working with Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Shore Surveyor participants will also learn about the native oyster and seagrass beds and the issues they currently face.

Both the UK’s native oyster and seagrass habitats have experienced a serious decline over the past 200 years, resulting in an estimated 95% reduction in populations. The new Shore Surveyor course ties directly into BSAC’s major new marine project, Operation Oyster, which aims to protect and restore native oyster habitats around the UK.

By the end of the course, participants can become ‘citizen scientists’ by helping to locate and record seashore areas where current or potential native oysters or seagrass populations are present. This data can then be fed into the National Marine Records Database to help scientists studying our coast as well as support future underwater surveys.

Seawilding CEO, Danny Renton, said he was delighted to partner with BSAC on the Shore Surveyor course.

“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people, in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation. The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”

BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said the new Shore Surveyor course was also part of BSAC’s drive to get more young people actively involved in marine life protection. 

“This new course not only explores the threats faced by our precious oceans but also empowers people to get directly involved.

“From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”

One of the first participants of the Shore Surveyor course, 16-year-old Lili, from North Wales, has recently put her new found surveying skills into action while on her summer holidays.

“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said Lili. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents.

“There is a bit of eLearning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”

Shore Surveyor is open to children aged eight up to adults and costs £20. For more information and to book onto the eLearning course, go to bsac.com/shoresurveyor.

For more information on Operation Oyster and other ways you can get involved, go to bsac.com/operationoyster

Images: Seawilding

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Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Seiko Prospex unite to help create the world’s largest underwater cleanup for ocean change

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PADI® and Seiko Prospex are teaming up to help marine conservation charity Oceanum Liberandum host the world’s largest underwater cleanup event in Sesimbra, Portugal on 24 September 2022.

Taking place during AWARE Week, the event aims to bring together 700 divers to clean up the coastline for a 12-hour period and is anticipated to host the most divers ever on record taking part in one consecutive underwater cleanup effort.  Participating divers and dive centres from around the region will come together to collect marine debris–which will ultimately be logged into PADI’s Dive Against Debris database.

“Our database is the world’s largest in terms of capturing seafloor debris data, which has already helped drive two pioneering scientific papers being used to create new waste management policies,” says Emma Daffurn, CSR Specialist for PADI Worldwide. “More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 and the environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at $13 billion US a year. This world record attempt further highlights the important role divers play in reporting, removing and advocating to stop marine debris at its source.”

PADI is proud to have Seiko Prospex on board as the sponsor of the marine debris program and a partner for this world record attempt. Their support is critical to advancing the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action, and protecting the global ocean now and for generations to come.

“Helping to raise awareness and take an active role in environmental conservation has become one of Seiko Prospex’s missions,” says Miguel Rodrigues, Sales & Marketing Director for Seiko Prospex. “We seek, whenever possible, to support events that have ocean conservation at their core, and we are very honored to sponsor the world’s largest underwater cleanup. We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future where humans are an integral part of nature.”

Those who want to volunteer to take part in the world record attempt can learn more and sign up at oceanumliberandum.pt/en/Largest-Underwater-cleanup-in-the-World/. The 15 euro registration fee will go towards supporting dive centres with boats, facilities and air bottle logistics.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Seiko in supporting the largest underwater cleanup event so that we can mobilise Ocean TorchbearersTM to take action to protect what they love, capture more essential data for policy changes, and continue the wave of momentum in creating positive ocean change,” says Daffurn.

For more from PADI, visit www.padi.com

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