The rumor has that there are sharks around Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Yes, that’s right, there are, because there are sharks in every sea and ocean (hopefully, otherwise we won’t have a healthy ecosystem anymore) but do not start worrying, we tell you the truth about the Maltese sharks and share our story: how we went snorkeling in Malta with sharks.
Snorkeling in Malta with sharks – Research and education
First of all, clear one thing – you can read news about sharks around Malta from time to time and some people try to scare the holiday makers – Do not believe them! There are sharks in every ocean but that is normal, sharks play important role in the ecosystem. The Mediterranean Sea is thought to contain approx. 47 different sharks species, most of them are deep-sea species, so only researchers and commercial fishermen are likely to see them. Shark attacks in the Mediterranean Sea are extremely rare especially in Malta: since 1900 only 5 incidents were registered which is one of the lowest number in Europe! We have snorkeled more than 50 hours in the past few months in Malta, but never seen sharks and even divers do not use to seem them, so keep calm!
Opps, I was not right in the last sentence, we did see sharks, what is more we went snorkeling in Malta with sharks and you can do the same! With very cute and absolutely harmless, baby Spotted Cat sharks! I will tell you now how 🙂
Shark savers in Malta
Snorkeling in Malta with sharks? Yes, it is true and possible with the Sharklab Malta! The Sharklab Malta is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to research and education – they would like to raise greater awareness about sharks and rays around Malta and within the Mediterranean and help them survive. The number of species are on a downward spiral – this is evident by the reduced numbers caught by fishermen and significant reduction in the number of sightings by boaters and divers – if there won’t be a change soon, many species will simply disappear forever. For example, the number of blue sharks drop by 90% in the last 10 years.
Sharklab Malta is determined to make a difference – without sharks in our waters, the whole fragile and balanced marine ecosystem would not work. These predators are at the top of the food chain, keep the populations healthy and balanced. Humans need to change the perception; they are not the big mouthed man-eaters, but critical and misunderstood. They need to be appreciated and understood for their roles they play in our waters.
The Sharklab Malta organize many different activities to help them and to raise awareness; they collect data, observe species through snorkeling and dive searches, educate through presentations and the best is: they save, bring up and release Spotted Cat sharks back to the sea. The Shark Release is the event what is opened for everyone and what we joined and went snorkeling in Malta with sharks!
Shark Release – Giving chance to the shark pups
The Sharklab Malta is working continuously to save the sharks – the Shark Saving Project is a long and complex process. We also joined to the last Shark Release event which was held on the 23 July 2016 and 65 baby Spotted Cat sharks were released back in the sea. We met the professional and friendly SharkLab Team who explained and how us the process and their work and finally we joined the release team and went snorkeling in Malta with sharks!
The process: collect, bring up and release
Shark egg cases are elongated capsules with tendrils at the top the bottom of the main capsule. Sadly many sharks are caught before they have has the opportunity to lay eggs. The Sharklab Malta team is recovering these eggs from landed sharks at the fish market. They place the collected eggs into the aquarium until they develop and hatch, then release them where they belong, back in the sea.
The Sharklab Malta released total 250 sharks so far which is an amazing number. The release is such an interesting event for the whole family, for divers and for snorkelers as well; the baby Spotted Catsharks are transported to the sea from the aquarium in big plastic containers and are released back to the sea in smaller groups; some are let free on the surface by snorkelers and some are deeper by divers.
If you also would like to join this unique event, check out the Sharklab activity calendar; the Shark Release is hold 2-3 times a year and open for the public. If you could join to the release team as an observer, important is that do not touch the small sharks! Once they released, they do not swim away immediately, stay close to the surface for a while or lie at the sea bottom, so keep safe distance from them.
Make sure to check the Sharklab Malta official site and support their activity. If you have the opportunity and are around when a release event is held, join them and go snorkeling in Malta with sharks, you will collect unforgettable memories!