Shark & ray conservation

Sharks are apex predators that have been governing the world’s oceans for almost 450 million years. During this time they have shaped marine ecosystems, maintained healthy fish populations and led to the rise of a wide variety of survival strategies, such as extreme speed and agility, camouflage and toxins. Sharks have a fearsome reputation driven by the world’s media and movies like Jaws, but contrary to popular belief sharks are not mindless killing machines – on average 5-10 people die as a result of shark attacks each year, even though millions of people interact with them on a daily basis. In stark contrast, it is estimated that more than 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year to supply the demand for shark fin soup, driving many species to the brink of extinction.

Semporna Shark Sanctuary

Scuba Junkie SEAS was established in 2009 to encourage better protection for sharks and rays within Sabah. Our first project involved drafting a proposal for a Semporna Shark Sanctuary.

Our shark conservation efforts now revolve around 3 key areas: pushing for better protection of particularly vulnerable species, pushing for the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and raising awareness of the importance of these apex predators.

Citizen science

We collect sighting data to help substantiate our calls for better protection for sharks and rays in Sabah. This involves documenting the daily sightings of sharks and rays by Scuba Junkie’s dive team and frequenting wet markets to record landings. We also contribute to global databases such as www.whaleshark.org and www.mantamatcher.org.

Citizen science

We collect sighting data to help substantiate our calls for better protection for sharks and rays in Sabah. This involves documenting the daily sightings of sharks and rays by Scuba Junkie’s dive team and frequenting wet markets to record landings. We also contribute to global databases such as www.whaleshark.org and www.mantamatcher.org.

Sabah Shark & Ray Initiative

The Sabah Shark & Ray Initiative is a coalition of organisations (WWF Malaysia, MRF, LEAP/Forever SSPA & SJ SEAS) working together to improve shark conservation measures in Sabah. The Initiative was established in 2017 and is funded by the Shark Conservation Fund. Projects include assessing bycatch reduction techniques in small-scale gillnet fisheries and large-scale trawl fisheries, increasing awareness with schools and the general public and participating in policy consultations.

Facilitating research

.We host scientists at various Scuba Junkie resorts to enable them to carry out research. Previous studies include:
– Marine Megafauna Foundation assessing the impact of microplastics on megafauna at SJ Komodo and SJ Sangalaki.
– Global Fin Print Initiative who deployed baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) to document shark and ray diversity at SJ Sipadan and SJ KK.
– Australian Institute of Marine Science who carried out socio-economic studies on the value of sharks to the Semporna region.

Facilitating research

.We host scientists at various Scuba Junkie resorts to enable them to carry out research. Previous studies include:
– Marine Megafauna Foundation assessing the impact of microplastics on megafauna at SJ Komodo and SJ Sangalaki.
– Global Fin Print Initiative who deployed baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) to document shark and ray diversity at SJ Sipadan and SJ KK.
– Australian Institute of Marine Science who carried out socio-economic studies on the value of sharks to the Semporna region.

Shark Week

This annual week-long event first started at Scuba Junkie’s Mabul Beach Resort in 2014 with the aim of providing factual information about shark and ray biology and behaviour and threats to their survival, as well as raising awareness of the efforts of passionate individuals and organisations trying to protect them. Activities include community outreach days, shark conservation workshops for local students, reef and beach cleans and a variety of evening awareness presentations with guest speakers, including Brendon Ford Sing of Shark Guardian.

Manta Week

This annual week-long event starting in 2017 and takes place at Scuba Junkie’s Indonesian resorts – Komodo, Sangalaki and Penida and is held in conjunction with the Marine Megafauna Foundation. The week includes citizen science, outreach activities with the local community and daily conservation activities with guests. Nightly presentations cover manta research and conservation. One of the highlights of the inaugural Manta Week for SJ Sangalaki was the launch of the manta population database for the East Kalimantan area – which reached 100 individuals within one year! 

Manta Week

This annual week-long event starting in 2017 and takes place at Scuba Junkie’s Indonesian resorts – Komodo, Sangalaki and Penida and is held in conjunction with the Marine Megafauna Foundation. The week includes citizen science, outreach activities with the local community and daily conservation activities with guests. Nightly presentations cover manta research and conservation. One of the highlights of the inaugural Manta Week for SJ Sangalaki was the launch of the manta population database for the East Kalimantan area – which reached 100 individuals within one year! 

Whale Shark Week

This annual week-long event first started in 2017 and is held at Scuba Junkie Sangalaki, in conjunction with Whale Shark Indonesia and the Marine Megafauna Foundation. The event aims to raise awareness of these gentle giants and promote responsible interactions. Activities include outreach activities with local youth groups and the local community, as well as daily conservation activities with guests. There are also nightly presentations about whale shark research and conservation – including details on the citizen science research identification programme with whale sharks in that region.