The Great Shark Snapshot, a community science initiative aimed at scuba divers and snorkellers, gets underway this summer and marks the 25th anniversary of the Shark Trust.
The UK charity is inviting divers all over the world to record every shark, ray and skate species they see between 24 and 31 July (inclusive), also taking photos and video footage where possible.
The data can then be uploaded to the Shark Trust Shark Log online, or via an app that will be available by the summer. Species ID guides are available on the Shark Trust website if required.
The Great Shark Snapshot is intended to become an annual event, expanding the trust’s Shark Log database to help scientists build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur. This in turn will assist them in advising on effective conservation measures.
“The Great Shark Snapshot is a way for divers to get together, go diving and do something to help shark conservation,” says the Shark Trust.
Dive clubs, centres and liveaboards can sign up in advance to show their support and advertise their planned dives on the Great Shark Snapshot registration page. Divers looking to join in can then use the event map to find dives taking place near them.
Shore-based events can also be organised so that groups including non-divers can search local beaches for eggcases to record as part of the Shark Trust’s Great Eggcase Hunt.
Divers are invited to share their sightings with other divers during the week, using the hashtag #GreatSharkSnapshot.
Participants are asked to register here and visit the Great Shark Snapshot website during the week. There is also a video explaining the initiative.
20,000 seagrass bags
Meanwhile, if you can’t wait until late July to make yourself useful, you could always lend a hand with England’s biggest seagrass restoration project.
This March, as part of the EU Life Recreation ReMEDIES Project, the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) plans to plant no fewer than 20,000 bags of seagrass seeds in both Plymouth Sound and the Solent Maritime.
Last summer, OCT’s volunteer scuba divers collected 3 million seeds from healthy parts of the seabed for replanting in Special Areas of Conservation, taking care to leave the healthy roots and leaves in place to go on generating seeds.
The collected seeds have to be packed with sand into all those biodegradable hessian bags, so volunteers are needed at Plymouth National Marine Aquarium, the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton or Portsmouth University. Click on a link to sign up.
The OCT is aiming to cover the equivalent of more than eight football pitches with seagrass off the South Coast.