Published On: Sun, Oct 7th, 2018

St. Maarten: ‘Adopt a Shark’ program continues due to ‘success’

peterwhaleshark-238x238PHILIPSBURG - Nature Foundation has extended its “Adopt a Shark” programme to yearend, thanks to continued demand. The programme was launched during Shark Week in June.

“It is important that we work together to ensure the survival of our shark population; with the ‘Adopt a Shark’ programme we are trying to engage the community in our efforts to protect sharks and give them the opportunity to be involved in a large-scale scientific research project on St. Maarten,” stated Foundation Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Different tags are being applied on adopted sharks, such PIT tags, FLOY tags and even high-tech acoustic tags have been deployed on certain sharks. A PIT tag is a microchip which gives us a unique live time barcode and a Floy tag is used to identify the shark by anyone who catches or sees the shark close-up.

An acoustic tag sends out acoustic signals which are detected with acoustic receivers, thereby giving information on how much time the shark spends around a certain location, providing us valuable information about their movement patterns.

DNA samples will provide information about the sharks, their relationships and their length measurements provide the knowledge about the ages and growth of the sharks.

By donating a contribution to Nature Foundation, you can adopt a St. Maarten shark. You will receive a certificate of adoption and can decide on the name of the shark. As soon as the shark is tagged, updates and pictures about the shark will be sent to you.

With the support of “Adopting a Shark,” we can continue our shark research and tagging activities; we will learn more about the sharks in our waters, providing us the knowledge to better protect them,” said Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Worldwide, sharks are the most misunderstood species on the planet as they are repeatedly displayed as villains and being dangerous. However, they are actually the victims of human poaching, finning, overfishing and coastal development activities.

Worldwide, more than 100 million sharks are killed per year; as a result, half of all shark species are threatened or endangered. Sharks, as top predators, play a crucial role in maintaining balance and health within our aquatic ecosystem. Besides, they are important for tourism; many divers would like to see sharks, which makes a shark worth more alive (US $200,000) than dead (US $50).

The “Adopt a Shark St Maarten” programme is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project, funded by Dutch National Postcode Lottery. Interested persons can send an email to naturefoundationprojects@gmail.com.

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