17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Diving        +66 (0) 77 456 050

Big Blue Diving - Koh Tao - Thailand - August 3, 2013

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Swim For Sharks Round Nang Yuan Island

 Don't miss out on the event of the year!!Only one week left until the Swim for Sharks!! The whole Swim for Sharks event is centred on involving the local community in active shark conservation and awareness. We came up with the event 4 years ago, and we donated our proceeds to Project AWARE, whose shark conservation action included driving interest in the recent CITES meeting. Due to the success of our event, we have been able in subsequent years to fund local projects, including a release program in Pattaya by Dive Tribe last year. As part of this project, Dive Tribe visit local restaurants and hotels and buy any captive sharks, which they then tagged and released in March this year. And as for us on Koh Tao, we set out to investigate the shark trade in local areas, including Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Chumphon. In general, we found no real trade in shark products and although a small number of sharks were turning up in markets and in restaurants, these where thought to have been caught on the Andaman coast, instead of in Koh Tao's waters as we feared. That said, we actually have very little information about the health of our shark populations and so we began the which using volunteer snorkelers we survey our reef shark populations. After hearing about what we were doing, the local fishermen wanted to get involved, and now we have a program started with them where if they accidentally catch sharks or rays, they bring to us where we have a tank to record and photograph them safely, then release back to the reef they were taken from. The information gathering is where we hope to expand on next, using Rototags to tag individual sharks, collect DNA samples for a global DNA database coordinated by Johanne Mourier of French Polynesia University. As well we want to teach the tagging techniques to the fishermen, so that they can perform the tagging themselves, putting less stress on the sharks during transportation. We want to also help increase awareness and education on shark conservation among divers and tourists in general, in a hope that people will not buy shark products, especially whilst visiting Thailand. Our event entails a sponsored swim, which last year had 73 participants. The swim is approximately 3.4 km long, around the island of Koh Nang Yuan. As well as this, we have an evening festival with local bands and international DJs, where the fundraising continues and the head shaving starts (it seems we have begun a tradition in shaving for sharks - many people raise money to shave a fin-like Mohawk into their heads!). Last year we raised a fantastic 127,000 baht, and this year we hope to raise more. We have decided to contribute the money raised to various charities: 

15% to SSI Mission Deep Blue anti-finning campaign in Costa Rica
15% to ECOOCEAN Whaleshark Monitoring Programme
20% to Fin Free Thailand (www.finfree.org)
50% to the Koh Tao Shark Project.
If you would like to help us raise money for these very worthy charities, and support the shark conservation work they do then come along and help. If you would like to do the swim, you can get sponsored by your friends and family. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to participate, you can even wear fins and a mask if you would like! But if you want to really go for the win, you can and we have a serious competitor race starting 5 minutes before the fun swim.
There are 4 prizes donated by Shark Skin as well this year, and these will go to:
• 1st back from the competitive race
• 1st back with fins
• Person who raises the most sponsorship
• Swimmer with the best fancy dress
If you just want to come and support then that’s fine too, come along to our evening event at Maya Beach Club from 6pm, wehere there is a free BBQ and International DJs playing until the early hours. The fundraising continues here too with the head shaving and drink promotions!
If you're reading this from somewhere other than Koh Tao, then don't fear, you can still get involved! Organis your own Swim for Sharks and get in contact with us how to transfer any money you raise. Or ifg you want to donate then fantastic!! Just go to our booking website here and enter how much you would like to donate, then in the comments section specify that it is for the Swim for Sharks.
Thanks and hopefully see you on August 10th!

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