Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans


Let’s Count Sharks!

‘Citizen Science’ is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists. Formally, citizen science has been defined as “the systematic collection and analysis of data; development of technology; testing of natural phenomena; and the dissemination of these activities by researchers on a primarily avocational basis” (citation from Wikipedia, science is sometimeslalso  called “public participation in scientific research.” In shark research, it is becoming increasingly important.


Grey reef shark sightings in Palau throughout the year

Many professional scientists spend only a limited time in the field, while divers and dive operations can go out every day. On Palau, where the Micronesian Shark Foundation leads a project on grey reef sharks, an average eight boats per day go out for diving. All divemasters and divers collect data on the number of sharks observed, the water temperature, depth, behavior and sex (


Identification poster for Open Water Sharks and Turtles for the Fiji Shark Count

In Fiji,  tourism operators, adventurers, marine researchers, coastal fishermen, deep sea anglers,  can participate in the Great Fiji Shark Count, an initiative of Fiji tourism operators and organised by Helen Sykes, the co-ordinator of Fiji Coral Reef Monitoring Network, held in April and November. Helen stated: “We’ll count the sharks, rays and turtles during diving, snorkelling, fishing trips or on boat voyages and contribute to shark research and protection (




In the Mediterranean there is a new project by Medsharks, focusing on the observation of catshark eggs (Hai visto un uovo di gattuccio?). Divers help draw a map of the areas where the nursehound reproduce, a vital information to protect this shark listed as nearly threatened with extinction.


Distribution of cat sharks in the Mediterranean: hotspots found so far by citizen science


Iniatives like these can greatly contribute to our knowledge about sharks and rays, but they are also a major factor in raising awareness for sharks!


Are you aware of more citizen science projects for sharks and rays? Please let us know at (! We are preparing a list of projects worldwide.




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