As part of its 25th-anniversary celebrations this year, UK shark conservation charity the Shark Trust is launching a brand-new citizen science initiative aimed at divers and snorkellers – the Great Shark Snapshot.
The project will take place during the last week of July 2022, during which time divers from all over the world are invited to record all the shark, ray and skate species they see during that week.
The information collected during the week will be added to the Shark Trust’s Shark Log, which will, over time, allow scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur.
Sharks are threatened by destructive fishing, climate change and habitat loss. The data collected during the Great Shark Snapshot will help scientists put effective conservation plans in place.
Dive clubs, centres, and boats can sign up to show their support for the initiative and advertise their planned dives on the Great Shark Snapshot registration page. Divers looking to join an event will be able to use the map to find Great Shark Snapshot dives taking place near them. Non-divers are also welcome to attend and organise shore-based events to search for egg cases in the Shark Trust’s Great Eggcase Hunt, data from which will also be added to the records as an important subset of the data.
In order to participate, just go diving, snorkelling or egg case hunting from 24 to 31 July (inclusive) and record every shark, ray or skate that your dive group sees and, if possible, take photos and video footage to submit with your recordings. All sightings can be recorded on the Shark Trust Shark Log recordings website – a new app is in development to help with the recordings and will be available soon.
For help identifying shark and ray species, or their egg cases, the Shark Trust website has a series of ID guides to help:
You can join the Shark Trust’s online community by following its Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram account. Post pictures of sightings during the event with the hashtag #GreatSharkSnapshot and the Shark Trust will share sightings over the week.
For more information, visit www.sharktrust.org/the-great-shark-snapshot