Cole Bay- From the 3rd until the 11th of June there will be an entire week dedicated to sharks at the Nature Foundation in St. Maarten. 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 humans poaching, finning, overfishing and coastal development activities. Worldwide over 100 million sharks are killed per year; as a result half of all shark species are threatened or endangered. It is important that we work together to ensure the survival of our shark populations, therefore the Nature Foundation is trying to bring this awareness to the public by organizing Shark Week.
“During this event different activities will be organized to show the importance of sharks for our reefs, ocean, island and tourism. Sharks, as top predators, play a crucial role in maintaining balance and health within our aquatic ecosystem. Besides, they are important for tourism; many scuba divers love to see sharks, which makes a shark worth much more alive than dead. People often think that sharks eat people. This is a misunderstanding, we are not on the menu for sharks and sharks do not eat people. Occasionally shark bites do happen, however no unprovoked attack has been ever recorded on St. Maarten. It is more likely that you get killed by a coconut falling on your head than by a shark,” commented Melanie Meijer Zu-Schlochtern, project Manager for the Nature Foundation Save our Sharks Program.
St. Maarten Shark Week will start on Saturday the 3rd of June with a day of kids activities (3-6pm) and a party in the evening (8pm) at Buccaneers Beach Bar. The Foundation will organize shark related kids activities such as a shark game, movies, coloring, goodies, selfie challenge and shark face painting. People can learn all the facts about sharks, learn to recognize different shark species and why sharks are not frightening or dangerous. During the party the Foundation will also release the latest updates about the exciting shark tagging research being done on St Maarten. Tickets will be sold to a raffle to win great prices, such as a day of shark tagging, scuba diving, flow boarding, dinner and many more. Dutch celebrity and ‘Save our Sharks’ ambassador Jörgen Raymann will be the special guest at the event.
The Nature Foundation will be visiting primary schools during the week, bringing shark awareness to our youth. Participants can also go Scuba Diving with one of the St Maarten Dive Schools to count our friendly sharks and participate in the Kingdom Shark Count! This activity is for certified scuba divers and is organized on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th of June. By participating you will contribute to the Foundation’s shark sighting research to monitor shark abundance in St. Maarten waters! You can register by Scuba Fun, Dive Safaris, Dive Adventures or Ocean Explorers dive school for this event.
St Maarten Shark week is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Shark’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.