Shark Watch is an education, public safety and citizen science program.
With the California Academy of Sciences we are running the Shark Watch iNaturalist Citizen Scientist program. This App allows users to identify and collect observations on sharks and rays. Initiated in the San Francisco Bay, the program is now global and provides a database for scientists to identify time, place and species. Information can be used for education and fisheries or habitat management. Our Bay Ecosystem and Shark program brings underserved Bay Area youth to the Bay, learning about marine ecosystems, observing wildlife and seeking sharks and rays! These kids are also learning hands on solutions for ocean health by doing NOAA beach surveys and marine debris clean ups at Aquatic Park Marine National Heritage Area.
Using Twitter, Facebook and public safety programs Shark Watch is an alert system where surfers, divers or other stakeholders at risk can alert the public to an observation of a white shark near our coastline, a near miss or predation event.
The alert system will provide information to public safety officials to take measures such as signage, beach closures etc before shark encounters make the news.
The public can help the California Department of Fish and Wildlife enforce the California Shark Fin Ban by reporting violations through the Shark Watch platform. Alerting Shark Stewards with location and evidence ( e.g. photographs, samples, testimony- shark fin soup on the menu is not enough). Reporting on social media and through our website will allow us to follow up, and expose violators.
Tips have already lead to enforcement in California.