Sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems. They maintain a balance in populations of prey species and keep the ocean healthy by removing ill or diseased animals. They are an important resource supporting local economies through fishing and as an attraction to dive tourists.
But sharks are in a global decline. Over fishing has reduced many shark populations around the world to levels that threaten their continued existence. Shark numbers have fallen by more than 80% in many cases, and the continued existence of some species is at immediate risk in some regions. European sharks are particularly in danger with around one third of the species threatened with extinction, one of the highest levels in the world.
There are many actions needed to address these issues. Shark fisheries management is of primary importance, but trade restrictions and monitoring are also important. The AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course will contribute towards the conservation of sharks by building awareness of the issues and inspiring students to speak up and act to protect sharks.
SHARK WEEK South Beach Style
The AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty is done in two segments:
- Learn about why Sharks are in peril, and why we should care
- Learn about the unique physical attributes of sharks
- History of the conservation status of sharks and how we can help spread the word
- Learn key management strategies that can protect our sharks - including what DIVERS can do to help!
- Identify sharks in our local area and their conservation status
- Recognize local threats to our sharks here in South Florida
- Learn responsible diving habits for diving with sharks, along with important safety tips for diving with sharks.
- Take action and join the Project AWARE movement
1) Classroom Presentation and Knowledge Development
This segment involves classroom presentation on the local Sharks of South Florida, Shark Conservation and how we can help, and a shark diving briefing for the next day - safety procedures and protocol for diving with large sharks.
2) Two Open Water Dives with Sharks in Jupiter, Florida
This segment involves three dives with sharks in Jupiter, Florida. The Third dive will be an optional dive for the GoPro Specialty. This trip includes three dives, lunch on the boat, nitrox tanks, and transportation to and from Jupiter.
During the AWARE Shark Conservation course you will encounter sharks like you have never before. The sharks of Jupiter are used to divers, and may bump you or swim within inches of you or your camera. This is a very safe dive, but does not involve a cage or any barrier between you and the sharks. Shark species that may be seen on the dive include: Tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, dusky sharks, sandbar sharks, silky sharks, and of course the Goliath Grouper who live on the wrecks.
Our aim is to replace fear of sharks with knowledge and admiration. If the sharks die, the seas die. So join our South Beach Divers team as we try to spread shark conservation through knowledge and experience with our amazing and beautiful sharks of South Florida.