Great news! According to a recent survey from Shark Guardian and eOcean, sharks can be seen on almost 60% of all divesites in Thailand. Most encountered sharks are Blacktip reefsharks, Leopard (or Zebra) sharks, whitetip reefsharks and Bamboo sharks. But also Nurse sharks and Whale sharks have been spotted regularly.

The data comes from a project called eOceans, a citizen science project where divers can register shark sightings to an online database. More than 9,500 dives have been submitted already. All divers can participate and even if you don’t see any sharks on your dive, your observation record is still valuable.

Read more about how you can participate on the websites of Shark Guardian and eOceans.



Blacktip reefsharks

Blacktip reefsharks are the most commonly encountered shark in Thailand. Blacktips are quite harmless and very shy sharks. They can be found in water as shallow as 1 meter so also beginning divers and even snorkelers can spot them easily. When the divesite is busy or when snorkelers are splashing around on the surface, they will disappear to deeper water.

Leopard sharks or Zebra sharks

Leopard sharks can often be found resting on a sandy bottom. They can be easily recognized by their distinctive spot pattern and relativily long tail. They are bottom feeders and have a diet of invertabrates like crabs and shrimps and small fish. Leopard sharks are completely harmless to humans. They don’t even have real teeth! Instead they have bone-like structures that they use to crush their food. Leopard sharks can be mostly found on the west side of Thailand, Koh Phi Phi and Similan Islands.

leopard shark

Whale sharks

The biggest fish in the ocean can be found primarily on the east coast of Thailand on dive sites like Chumpon Pinnacle and Sail Rock. But also on the Andaman coast, Similan Islands and Hin Daeng they can be spotted regurarly. These dive sites are also great places to spot Oceanic Manta rays. Even the dive sites in Phang Nga bay – Phi Phi islands Koh Haa, have occasional whale shark sightings.

Shark products export

Unfortunately Thailand is also one of the biggest exporters of shark products. According to a study from Project AWARE, Thailand’s export of shark fins is second only to that from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also a major importer of shark fins, meaning that it is a main trade hub for shark products. Thailand’s shark fin import numbers are very small.

It has to be said that it is not clear if Thailand’s shark production is coming from local or international waters. Also the study only includes legal shark fin trade and strangely lacks any data from Latin American countries like Costa Rica. The full report can be found here.


Working as a dive instructor in Thailand

Thailand is a great country to start your career as a diving instructor. It is one of the worlds most popular places to get your dive certification. Most dive sites in Thailand are relatively easy to dive; shallow, warm water, good visibility and gentle or no currents. There are plenty of dive centers on the east and west coast and the seasons are opposite. On Thailands east coast the high season is July/August whilst on Thailands west coast the busiest months are November to January.

Asia Scuba Instructors Blog is written by Course Director Marcel Jansen. Asia Scuba Instructors runs PADI Instructor Courses in multiple locations around Asia.

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