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    Earthwatch Institute: Shark Conservation in Belize

    Earthwatch Institute: Shark Conservation in Belize


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destination: Belize
    • Provided By: Independent Provider
    • Session Start: June, July, August, December
    • Session Length: Two Weeks, Other
    • Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: STEM
    • Sub-Categories: Animals/Nature, Environmental Science, Wildlife Conservation
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 15, 16, 17, 18
    • Minimum Cost: $1,500 - $2,999
    • Career Clusters: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
    • Credit Awarded: No
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    Join scientists protecting coral reefs so that they remain rich hunting grounds for sharks. Find out exactly how marine reserves strengthen shark populations. When Dr. Demian Chapman and his team arrived in Belize, he rarely saw shark meat in fish markets. But, he says, “This has changed. Today, fishermen are exploiting sharks in Belize almost without any regulation.” Fueled by high prices for shark fins used in soup, shark populations are overfished on an epic scale.

    Research using baited remote underwater video cameras (BRUVs) has already determined that sharks are nearly absent on reefs where fishing is allowed. But they’ve also found a reason to be hopeful: shark populations thrive in marine reserves, where fishing is banned. From a boat under the Caribbean sky, your team will deploy BRUVs to learn what’s happening in the water and catch sharks to take tissue samples for dietary analysis.


    • Being on this expedition, I was reminded of two big ideas: the first being the importance of collaboration in science, especially when it involves indigenous or local communities. The Shark and Ray Conservation project is heavily based on this collaboration, and it's amazing to see what they're able to accomplish when the scientists and fishermen and women work together. Second, I was reminded of the immense amount of work, and often discomfort, that is involved with learning more about our natural world. Behind many scientific discoveries, there are strong, committed, hard-working people that constantly have to make sacrifices for their work.

      - Laura - August 15, 2019
    • As an avid scuba diver with no formal marine science education, it was an eye-opener to be a part of the science behind efforts to study and sustain shark populations -- just how labor-intensive it is and how very basic. Relatively simple information -- if gathered in enough quantity -- will drive critical decisions and support for these shark species.

      - Jane - September 3, 2019