The bull shark’s (Carcharhinus leucas) cause in Playa del Carmen is a very important aspect for the well being of the reefs. Phantom Divers collaborates with a non-profit organization named Saving Our Sharks. Our common objective is to protect the sharks which are an important indicator of the health of coral reefs.
In order to determine the best future for the sharks in the Mayan Riviera, Saving Our Sharks has based its plan of action on scientific research, public outreach, government legislation to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and shark sanctuaries. Another major objective is to integrate all of the key stakeholder’s beliefs including fishing collectives and dive tourism operators.
The main goal of the research project is to collect scientific data in order to create an evidence based conservation strategy that will efficiently protect the sharks.
Saving Our Sharks is taking the first steps towards recording and analyzing data in order to gain specific knowledge of bull sharks. In the Riviera Maya there has not been any previous research regarding shark behavior. Therefore these first steps are key to address the lack of knowledge around shark behavior. Information such as migration patterns, general behavior, breeding and pupping sites will allow SOS to determine specific areas to protect them.
So, one of the first things to ask is why so much research? And what is the purpose and use of it?
These questions were answered by the team of Saving Our Sharks.
First, all the data collected from the studies done in the Riviera Maya is being used to identify the size and principal activities of the shark population. Other extremely important data we are collecting includes: the division by sex, movements in relation to feeding patterns and in relation to each other.
This type of information helps to understand behavioral differences between male and female sharks. It also provides knowledge about migration, life span, mortality rates and reproductive cycles.
This is important to help us to identify: the times and seasons when of vulnerability as well as the areas for mating and reproduction. The goal is to use the data to create a network of protected areas for sharks to be safe and able to sustainably reproduce.
All the data is being collected and analyzed by a team of dedicated scientists, using the latest technology and standards. These include satellite tracking on the Argos system and a network of acoustic telemetry receivers through out the Caribbean Ocean in QuintanaRoo, Mexico.
Next at the Phantom Divers blog, we will continue to explain the procedures done for the purpose of studying and protecting the sharks.