PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — As part of the Save our Sharks Project the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation organized the very first Kingdom Shark Count in cooperation with several local dive schools including Ocean Explorers, Dive Safaris and Dive Adventures.
The Shark Count was executed simultaneously on all six Dutch Caribbean island and in the Netherlands. The shark count contributes significantly to the Nature Foundation’s scientific research into the abundance and movement patterns of sharks in local waters.
The count also provides insight into the state of our shark population and seasonal and yearly patterns of sharks on valuable coral reefs. Sharks are very important to the health of coral reefs, oceans and fish stock; therefor this research has great value for the Nature Foundation and Sint Maarten.
About 60 scuba divers participated last weekend in order to see and count St Maarten’s shark population. Sharks are very important for tourism, since many divers come to the island to see marine life, with sharks being at the top of that list.
Different research has shown that a shark is worth approximately USD$250,000 over its lifetime to the local economy alive compared to just USD$50, – dollars dead for market price. The Kingdom Shark Count was part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.