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SCS is a small volunteer run Society which has achieved an enviable record of conservation and research wins. The world today is obsessed with everything needing to be safe. A small adventure group of shark enthusiasts (SCS) simply can't afford the legal, insurance and administrative back-up which would guard against any risks of SCS having to pay out in the event of a claim or a legal action. The cost of our expeditions would have to double or treble!

When I read last year that a BBC film crew had to do a 'risk assessment' before filming a group of Morris dancers it brought home to me just how pathetic the world has become, we all know how dangerous knotted hankies can be! Today's adventurer who wants to be safe must wrap him/her self in cotton wool, go to bed and watch TV.

The directors of the Society are currently studying this problem searching for a way for our expeditions to be able to continue. It is with great regret therefore we have to announce that until this process has been completed, and a way forward found, we will have to suspend expeditions.

To our loyal supporters and past volunteers the message is 'We are not going away, won't lie down, and will find a way at going on, even if it involves all volunteers having to buy shares in cotton wool and avoid Morris dancers'! More to follow.

Qatar Expedition

Personnel And Acknowledgements

Organisers - Shark Conservation Society

Leader - Richard Peirce

Crew/researchers - Mark Boothman, Bob Pennington, Gokhan Kuzu.

The Society would like to thank

  • Mr Mohammad Saeed Mohannadi
  • Ministry of Environment, Department of Fisheries
  • Various personnel from the Department of Fisheries


On the SCS April expedition on May 1st one or maybe two specimens of Sandbar sharks (C. Plumbeus) were observed in the Khor al Udaid channel. While these sharks were seen by more than one witness and positively identified, no corroborating footage or images were achieved. The expedition was given a photograph of a large Great Hammerhead on an Abu Dhabi fishing boat and a Sandbar shark can clearly be seen on the same boat. This photo is the only actual proof of this species being present in the Gulf as far as we know. A prime objective therefore of this second “mini expedition” was to obtain an image or footage so that this species could be added to the Gulf sharks list.

Our other objectives were:-

  • To add to our stock of images and footage for the forthcoming film The World’s Richest Sharks (2011)
  • To discuss three specific conservation measures with the Department of Fisheries for the protection and management of sharks in Qatari waters.

Methods & Chumming

Mr Gokhan Kuzu is a Turkish national living in Qatar who is a keen and knowledgeable diver and underwater photographer. Gokhan has dived and snorkelled all round the coast of Qatar and has observed Blacktips, Bull sharks and Sandbar sharks in the Khor al Udaid channel. Because of our previous sightings and Gokhan’s experience, we decided to work this area to prove Sandbar sharks as a locally present species. Gokhan served as our guide.

We were working in between 1 and 7 metres of water snorkelling and free diving.

As well as patrolling in pairs (we were a team of 4), we also deployed chum tubes at fixed locations close enough to our boat so that they could be continually observed by the crew on the boat. The chum used was frozen sardines, and the tubes were refreshed and agitated at regular intervals.

Thursday September 24

Friday September 25

Saturday September 26


It would have taken both luck and good conditions to film and photograph Sandbar sharks. It is likely that the sharks seen on Sept. 25 were Sandbars and certainly the specimen I saw was a spindle shaped animal. We had neither luck nor good conditions, nevertheless the objective of increasing our stock of footage/images was achieved.

The team were also very grateful to Mr Mohammad Saeed al Mohannadi (Director, Department of Fisheries) and Dr. Ibrahim al Maslamani (Qatar University, Environmental Studies Centre) for agreeing to a meeting during their Eid holiday.


At the meeting with Mr Mohannadi and Dr Maslamani SCS suggested that the Qatar authorities enact the following:-

  • Mandatory release and reporting of all Green Sawfish (Pristis Zijsron) caught in Qatari waters.
  • An annual three month (February 15 – May 15) ban on the landing of all sharks.
  • An annual three month (Feb 15 – May 15) closure to all fishing of an area in which we found large numbers of Milk shark and Whitecheek shark pups.
  • The Ministry of Environment (Department of Fisheries) agreed to all three proposals. SCS was asked to design posters for distributing to the markets and to fishermen making clear and explaining these new regulations.

    The Shark Conservation Society applaud the Qatar government for taking a lead with these important conservation measures.

    Writer. Richard Peirce, SCS Chairman.


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