Sharklab-Malta is a registered non-profit, voluntary organisation in Malta dedicated to research, education and raising greater awareness about all elasmobranchs (sharks, rays, skates and chimaera) around Malta and within the Mediterranean Sea.
Our main objectives are to raise awareness, increase research efforts in Malta and the wide Mediterranean and contribute to conversation on all levels.
Elasmobranch numbers around Malta and within the Mediterranean are decreasing. This is evident by the reduced numbers caught and brought to the market for sale each year and the significant reduction in the number of sightings by boaters and divers.
If nothing changes, many species will simply disappear forever. Such an example is the blue shark (Prionace glauca), which used to be a common species throughout the Mediterranean and around the Maltese Islands. Their population numbers have dropped by over 90% in the last 10 years alone, to a point where they might not be able to recover anymore.
Sharklab-Malta is determined to make a difference and support the conservation of elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean Sea. Without elasmobranchs in our waters, the way the whole fragile and balanced marine ecosystem works would be affected. Since sharks are often at the top of their food-chains, they play a critical role for all species of marine life through predation; they keep populations healthy and balanced and they control diseases by eliminating weaker individuals. Without sharks present acting as a control, other fish populations would significantly reduce.
So what can be done to make a difference?
We, as the human species, need to change our perception of these animals and implement management measures for their conservation. Sharks are often negatively portrayed in the media. But we need to change our perception and understanding of these critical and fascinating animals. They need to be appreciated and understood for the roles they play in our waters, here around Malta and across the globe.
What is Sharklab-Malta doing about it?
Sharklab-Malta is undertaking many different activities to try and play a part in making a difference for elasmobranchs. We collect catch data from the market in Marsa to gain more information on the range of species caught and brought to the islands. Through snorkeling and dive searches we observe species and look more closely at their habitat around the islands. We educate people through presentations, conversations and social media to spread the message far and wide that change needs to happen now.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
SHARKLAB – GLOBAL
Sharklab International is a non- profit NGO and was founded by Andrej Gajic and Greg Nowell in 2008. We have two headquarters- Sharklab-Malta, and Sharklab-Adria, based in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
As an expanding global organisation we collaborate with researchers based in and other countries, such as Greece, Spain, England, France, Portugal, etc.
SHARKLAB – LOCAL
Sharklab-Malta follows a very local approach to get people involved in all kind of activities. The research currently being done in Malta includes studies on the biology and ecology of different species. The main goal is to increase awareness to help protect elasmobranchs around the islands and the wider Mediterranean.
Another Chance - The Inspiring Story of Sharklab Malta
This is a short documentary by Michele Agius which highlights the importance of sharks within our ocean and introduces Sharklab-Malta. Sharklab-Malta is an organisation that strives to raise awareness on the problems sharks face, as well as make a difference through research and collection of shark eggs from dead, wild sharks. Over time they help them develop into pups so that they can be given another chance at living and released back into the wild.
Since this video was made hundreds of baby sharks have been successfully rescued and released by the Sharklab-Malta team in collaboration with Malta National Aquarium.
WARNING: This video contains some explicit shark finning footage which some people may find distressing.