Sharks are often called the kings of the sea, and for good reason. As the apex predator, they control all of the populations and dynamics of the species below them on the food chain. Sharks are imperative to maintain the health of the reef. But, shark populations have been in sharp decline recently, last year the UN released a report which said that 90% of shark populations have been lost of the last 100 years.
Many non-divers fear sharks, as they have been programmed by Hollywood and the popular media to see sharks as blood thirsty monsters looking to attack humans whenever they get the chance. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth, only about 15 people per year are killed by sharks (yet we kill 100 million sharks each year). You have a much better chance of being killed by a coconut or a vending machine then by a shark. Divers of course know this, since many have had the pleasure of seeing the amazing animals in their natural environment.On Koh Tao we have 5 species of sharks that can be seen; Black Tip Reef Sharks, Bull sharks, Whalesharks, Grey Reef Sharks, and Leopard Sharks.
Our program is in various shark programs both locally and regionally, which are all led by our shark researcher, Shin Arunrugtichai. Click on the links below to learn more about the shark programs we are involved in at the NHRCP, and also to learn more about the ancient majestic animals.
- Shark Sampling Expedition 2012 (Genetic and Morphological study of sharks in Southern Thailand)
- Koh Tao Black Tip Reef shark population dynamics study 2013 (coming soon)
- Shark fast facts
- NHRCP Shark Ecology and Monitoring Certification Course
- Project AWARE/PADI Shark Conservation Diver certification
- New Heaven Pledges to be Fin Free
Students in our NHRCP marine conservation courses get to learn all about shark ecology, behavior, morphology, evolution, and threats. They also participate in weekly shark surveys at various locations around the island to take data on our important shark species while snorkeling. To learn more about how you can get involved check out our courses or internship pages.
- Don’t consume or purchase shark meat, fins, or products
- Don’t support restaurants or resorts that serve shark on the menu
- Reduce your consumption of wild caught fish and shrimp, to reduce the amount of sharks killed to by-catch
- Participate in shark conservation and research programs
- Donate to groups working towards shark protection
- Help spread the word about the threats to sharks around the world
- Be careful about what food treats/products you purchase for your pets, as many sold in Asia contain cheap shark meat (which contains high levels of mercury)
Did you know that Koh Tao boasts one of the largest populations of Black Tip Reef Sharks in the Gulf of Thailand? In our March 2014 video you can see some of theses schools, and the amazing behavior they exhibit (sharks start at 2:30 in the video):