Most sharks however are not directly dangerous for humans. In fact sharks probably are more scared of us, than we are of them.
As a Scuba Diver I love the have encounters with sharks, as I am sure many fellow divers with me.
This article tells about a timid shark that can be seen in shallow waters, even during a snorkel-trip.
It is easily to identify the shark within the Shark family, because of the black tips on the fins and the location where you will see it. It will swim in the shallow parts over tropical reefs.
According to the UICN the current endangered status of the Blacktip reefshark is: near threatened.
Blacktip Reefsharks are not directly fished on, but frequently end up in the fishing nets. If caught they will get completely (not only used for fins) sold to mainly Asian markets, as Thailand and India. New born or Juvenile Blacktips will also get sold as aquarium animal to private as well as the public aquariums. It is a popular shark for aquariums because of its small size and typical shark looks.
So, what is a Blacktip reef shark?
Blacktip reefsharks are a smaller species of Shark that can grow up to 1,8m. The shark has what most people would call a “typical-shark” look. This look is characterized by a short, blunty-rounded snout, oval eyes, 2 dorsal fins and narrow–cusped teeth.
This animal is perfectly streamlined and built for speed. Large and sickle-shaped pectoral fins, a 1st dorsal fin with a curving S-shaped rear and a 2nd dorsal fin is large with a small space at the rear enables the shark to move swiftly through the water.
As like the Great White shark, the blacktip reef shark is one of the few sharks that can ‘breach’ the water. Breaching means that the shark can jump completely out of the water.
What is on the menu?
Tips around the world
The Blacktip Reef Shark can be spotted around the world, in waters near the coastlines of the sub- and tropical Indo-Pacific area – from the Red Sea to South Africa across South East Asia to Hawaii.
Normally you can find them in the shallow parts of coral reefs and intertidal zones. They can move with the tides into the mangrove areas, when the salt levels rises. Blacktip babies will swim around in even shallower and sandier areas of the reefs between 15cm to 1m.
A blacktip reefshark population will stay close to home. The sharks will stay in a small area around a so called ‘home-reef’ within a range of ±2.5 km2.
Are they Dangerous?
Come watch the Blacktip Reefsharks at Phi Phi
At Phi Phi it is just a short swim out of Longbeach on Phi Phi Don, the main island and you arrive at Hin Phae so called Phi Phi Shark Point.
As the name expresses there is a high chance of seeing them there. You can go by foot to this place or visit it via a snorkel trip or specific Sharkwatch trip they also sell on the island.
Other sightings of the sharks have been reported all around Phi Phi Ley - especially at the Divesite called Palong - and the Bida Islands - Bida Nog and Nai. Based on sighting-frequency and highest number in sightings the blacktip’s home reef I think will be either Hin Phae or Palong. Unless there is another reef on Phi Phi which I did not discover yet where there are even more sharks swimming around.
On Phi Phi Lars Bindholt has been running a personal project via Orientalsea.com, to count and monitor the blacktip population at Phi Phi. As of 2013 Snippy’s Snaps Diving and Moskito Diving are contributing to this project.
For this project any shark-sightings is reported and if possible the right side of the blacktip sharks is photographed for recognition. By doing this we get information on the migration patterns, their survival rates, age and current population numbers.
Based on the results of the months of July and August 2013 the population consists of min. 75 Blacktip sharks, with 37 sharks sighted in years before. Snippy’s Snaps Diving even named 2 sharks already spotted by him during his researches.
Hopefully the results of this research may get used in the future for more global projects or research.
So come down to South East Asia and look for these magnifient sharks with us!