Diving for a cause

The project aims to determine the population dynamics, movements and areas of importance for whale sharks

A postgraduate study in whale sharks in Arabia is being run by Heriot-Watt University and supported by the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.

Sharkwatch Arabia is a research and conservation initiative that aims to collect information on whale sharks. The study €“ which is to be carried out by PhD student David Robinson at the University's Dubai Campus €“ is the first true community-based research project in the region that aims to use the regional diving and sea-faring community to collect information on sightings and behaviour of whale sharks found within the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. The aims of the project include determining the population dynamics, movements and areas of importance for the whale sharks as well as attempting to determine why they visit this region.

The project is being run in association with the Emirates Diving Association based in the UAE which is helping to spread the word by getting the local dive community involved and providing logistical support for data collection. If a new animal is identified then the person who took the photo will be given the chance to name that individual.

Share your whale shark sightings

If you have encountered a whale shark in the waters of Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (Gulf coast), Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, Pakistan, UAE or Oman in the past three years then we would like to hear from you: please submit your data to the Sharkwatch Arabia website.

One very important part of the project is to feed the sightings back into the community and so there will be quarterly updates sightings within the gulf for EDA members via their quarterly magazine. You can get frequent updates of news and sightings on the Sharkwatch Arabia Facebook page.