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Monday, May 27, 2024

Shark Breeding in Thailand

An amazing collaboration to regenerate the marine ecosystem in Thailand through Shark Breeding.

Among the 450+ different shark species, some are egg layers like the Bamboo Shark and the Zebra shark, AKA Leopard Shark. 

(Watch our video below)

Most other shark species give birth however, these 2 species lay eggs. The shark eggs develop and hatch outside the mother’s body with no parental care after the eggs are laid, meaning these sharks can be bred in captivity, to be later released.

Breeding Sharks who are the Apex predators meaning ‘top of the food chain’ can help restore the balance of the marine life. Drastic declines of shark populations can affect the whole marine ecosystem in different ways. If sharks disappear, certain species that feed on coral vegetation will carry on unchecked and affect the survival of coral reefs and marine life as we know it.

We had a chat with David Martin, David is a prolific expat in Thailand, dive extraordinaire, underwater cameraman for BBC and Netflix documentaries and one of the Co-Founders of Oceans for All.

 “Oceans for All Foundation” is a government regulated official non profit foundation (NGO) that has projects dedicated to saving the ocean. 

They work closely with marine authorities in Thailand. 

Asia Lifestyle Magazine explores the shark breeding program with David Martin and learns a lot about shark eggs. 

Leopard Sharks in Thailand

20 years ago, Leopard Sharks were flourishing in the waters around Phuket, specifically in and around a place known as Shark Point. Seeing a Leopard Shark was so common that dive centers were offering a money back guarantee. Unfortunately Leopard Shark sightings are few and far between now, with fewer than 4 or 5 sightings per year. 

Marine expert David Martin explains that a mixture of overfishing, mass tourism and pollution are just some of the contributing factors for the drop in Leopard Shark populations around Thailand. 

Even though the Leopard shark (AKA Zebra Shark) ) is commonly known as the icon for Thailand’s diving, it’s still as of 2021, not a protected species in the Kingdom. 

Leopard Shark Breeding Program

When a male Leopard Shark (Zebra Shark) was found in a local seafood restaurant on display for tourists, a collaboration began between the ‘Phuket Marine Biology Center’ (PMBC) located behind the Phuket Aquarium and ‘Oceans for All’ to restore Thailand’s marine ecosystem. Swimming alone in Phuket Aquarium was a female Leopard Shark, so thus began the matchmaking in the hopes of repopulating the Leopard Shark numbers around Thailand. 

After about a year of swimming in the same tank together, the Leopard Shark couple have since produced 10 eggs, 2 with yolk, meaning that there are 2 chances of baby Leopard Sharks (Zebra Sharks}. The hatching period is 6 months compared to the Bamboo Sharks 3 months.

Bamboo Shark Breeding

Bamboo Sharks are much easier to breed compared to Leopard Sharks. With a much shorter 3 month hatching period and smaller size.

There are Baby Bamboo Shark release activities held every 6 months. Oceans for All is continually seeking support for the Phuket Marine Biology Center.

The Shark Egg Laying Process 

When oviparous sharks (egg laying sharks) are ready to lay eggs, adhesive fibers protruding from their cloaca (a tube leading to the womb) latch themselves onto rocks or coral, pulling out the egg. Not every egg that a shark lays is fertile, similar to a chicken. 

Please share this article and help others see the great work being done.

Check out Oceans for All Foundation here.

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Asa Marsh
Asa Marshhttps://www.asialifestylemagazine.com/
Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Asia Lifestyle Magazine.Originally from the UK, Asa Marsh has been based in Asia for many years. Well known for guiding his Real Estate and Lifestyle company Easy Living Phuket to win the title of “Top 10 Real Estate Agency - Southeast Asia” in 2018.
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