Hundreds of divers from around the world took part in the inaugural Great Shark Snapshot summer event and carried out shark and ray survey dives over the last seven days of July, according to organiser the Shark Trust.
Dive-centres and clubs, liveaboards and individual divers in 14 countries all contributed, says the Plymouth-based charity, recording 1,846 sharks and rays, and a total of 49 species.
“I am delighted with how our first Great Shark Snapshot has gone,” said the trust’s marketing co-ordinator Caroline Robertson-Brown. “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.”
Participating divers had a range of stories to share on social media, said the Shark Trust, from those seeing their first shark or an unfamiliar species to others celebrating a 100th dive in style, or spotting sharks in huge numbers.
Lahaina Divers in Hawaii was able to contribute sighting 78 scalloped hammerheads, while Sundive Byron Bay in Australia reported seeing 58 wobbegongs on a single drift-dive.
The first sighting to come in from a dive was from Thresher Shark Divers in the Philippines, reporting five pelagic threshers. The species reported by Basking Shark Scotland was to be expected, while Celtic Deep spotted blue sharks in Wales. Tenerife Diving Academy contributed a duckbill eagle ray (bull ray).
Around 100 divers on five Aggressor Adventures liveaboards also took part. “We were delighted to help participate in this year’s Great Shark Snapshot,” said Cole Watkins, the operator’s content strategy director. “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.”
Non-divers meanwhile participated in the Great Eggcase Hunt, recording 380 eggcases from eight species in the database over the week.
The Shark Trust says that it will soon introduce a new app to make recording shark, ray, skate and also eggcase sightings that much easier. And it has confirmed that the Great Shark Snapshot will be repeated next year, with dates to be released early in 2023.