epic tiger shark diving expeditions
Oceanic Whitetip Shark cat island

Day Trips to Dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks: Bahamas

The Bahamas undoubtedly offers some of the best shark diving options available in the world! Tiger Beach has been a long time favorite among shark diving enthusiasts with it’s abundance of large sharks including Tiger Sharks, Reef Sharks, and Lemon Sharks. Bimini has emerged as a hotspot for reliable encounters with the elusive Great Hammerhead Shark, as well as regularly seen Bull Sharks and Nurse Sharks. But there is another hidden gem in shark diving lying in the central Bahamas. On the eastern edge of Exuma Sound, the deep water is a favorite hang out of the endangered Oceanic Whitetip Shark, an extremely photogenic pelagic species.

When do you run Oceanic Whitetip Shark Diving day trips?
The spring season is the right time of year to seek out encounters with the oceanic whitetip sharks. They are migratory but return each year in large numbers during the spring months. Their migration is believed to be related to mating or gestation as most of the oceanic whitetip sharks we see are female, and many of them are pregnant.

What are day trips to dive with the Oceanic Whitetip Sharks like?
A typical day trip to dive with the oceanic whitetip sharks involves an early start to grab a bite to eat before boarding the boat for the ride out to the shark grounds – click here to visit Intrepid Powerboats used for the trip. MV Thresher is fully equipped for comfort and safety to enjoy the whole day out on the water. In addition to all the seating space on the dive deck and up on the flybridge, there’s also a fully enclosed cabin to get out of the elements on some of those not so inviting winter mornings. Both the flybridge and inside cabin have stereo systems with bluetooth connectivity to enjoy your favorite playlist. The oceanic whitetips stay around the boat all day long, allowing for lengthy in water encounters. We will do a combination of SCUBA diving and snorkeling/freediving to best take advantage of the opportunity and maximize our water time. The encounters are different on SCUBA vs snorkel, and each have their pros and cons. SCUBA diving with oceanic whitetips is effortless drift diving where proper buoyancy is crucial and you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. While snorkeling with oceanic whitetip sharks, you’ll be able to take advantage of the awesome surface light and close up photo ops. Read more here to make the right choice.

How many days should you swim with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks?
We recommend no less than three days planned to dive with the oceanic whitetip sharks. Even though it’s the spring season when weather is usually getting calmer, there may still be occasional squalls of heavy winds and high seas, preventing us from making it out for diving or snorkeling with the oceanic whitetip sharks. The dive area is located in deep ocean water and can seas can build quickly. We offer standard packages with either 3 or 5 days of diving planned. We know it can be really disappointing to lose a day of diving and we strongly recommend travelers secure some form of travel insurance specific to diving, such as the kind offered by DAN or DiveAssure.

What can we expect to see in a day trip to dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks?
We have been diving with oceanic whitetip sharks for the past 8 years and the encounters have only gotten better over time. We have had days with up to 15 of the pelagic sharks spending the whole day with the dive group! The exciting part is that aside from the oceanic whitetips, you never know what else might show up while drifting out in the crystal clear deep blue. We have had regular encounters with Silky Sharks, Dusky Sharks and Reef Sharks, as well as the occasional Blue Shark, Mako Shark and even Great hammerhead and Tiger Sharks! And sharks aren’t the only marine animals bringing in the heart pounding excitement. Huge schools of tuna, mahi mahi (aka dorado or dolphin fish), and even Blue Marlin and White Marlin! It really is a special place worth checking off your list of shark diving hotspots!

How do I arrange day trips to dive with oceanic whitetip sharks?
Having such a short season, we generally book up well in advance, so it’s best to contact us early. Our calendar is set and boat reserved throughout the season so we don’t have space for your typical open bookings. Contact us for dates and availability.

dive with oceanic whitetip sharks bahamas shark diving

Oceanic Whitetip Shark and Pilot Fish

cites 2016 sharks and rays

CITES 2016 Update: Press Release

CITES 2016 shark protection

Press Release

Johannesburg, October 3, 2016 – In a highly anticipated Committee session today, proposals to list devil rays, thresher sharks, and the silky shark under CITES* were supported by more than the two-thirds of voting Parties required for adoption.  Conservationists are delighted yet mindful that Committee decisions must still be confirmed in the final CITES plenary session later this week.

“Assuming these decisions stand, this is a big win for all these species of sharks and rays as governments around the world will now have to act to reduce the overfishing that threatens them,” said Andy Cornish of the WWF.

Nine devil rays, the three thresher sharks, and the silky shark were proposed by a variety of countries for listing under CITES Appendix II, which would result in international trade restrictions to ensure exports are sustainable and legal.

“We are elated by the resounding support for safeguarding the devil rays, some of the oceans’ most vulnerable animals,” said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International.

Ali Hood of the Shark Trust noted, “While we’re hopeful that this important decision for silky sharks will stand, we stress that complementary fishing limits are key to the effective conservation.”

“We are grateful that governments recognize the value of healthy thresher shark populations for both fisheries and tourism,” said Ania Budziak of Project AWARE.

CITES Parties will reconvene in Plenary to begin finalizing decisions on Tuesday.

“We urge governments to endorse the Committee decisions and put in place these vital international trade controls, as a matter of priority,” added Amie Brautigam of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Earlier in the meeting, Parties agreed steps aimed at improving the traceability of shark and ray products, which is fundamental to CITES implementation. Countries’ interventions reflected a growing recognition of the vital role CITES can play in shark and ray conservation by enhancing data, improving management, and ensuring sustainable international trade.

Project AWARE, Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF are working in partnership to promote the ray and shark listing proposals, with support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

cites sharks and rays

Sharks and rays high on CITES #CoP17 agenda | CITES

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

Press Release

Geneva 16 September 2016: South Africa, home to one quarter of the world’s 400+ shark species, will this month host the triennial meeting of the World Wildlife Conference where strengthened protection for sharks and rays will again be high on the agenda.

Delegates from over 180 countries attending the meeting – also known as CITES #CoP17 – will receive updates on actions taken following CoP16 in Bangkok, where five shark species, namely the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead, and all manta rays were given protection under CITES Appendix II, with trade in these species now being regulated to prevent over-exploitation.

At CITES #CoP17 Parties will be asked to consider three more proposals to bring sharks and rays under CITES trade controls, namely to include:

  • Silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis in Appendix II
  • Thresher sharks Alopias spp. in Appendix II
  • Devil rays Mobula spp. in Appendix II

Read the press release here: Sharks and rays high on CITES #CoP17 agenda | CITES


silky shark diving bahamas

CITES Appendix II listing for Silky Sharks

Cities Appendix II listing

PEW TRUSTS Video Transcript

    • Once considered one of the most abundant sharks in the ocean.
    • They are currently suffering declines of 70-90% wherever they are found.
    • The international shark fin trade is the principal driver behind their overexploitation.
    • There is inadequate control over the number that can be caught, sold or traded every year.
    • An Appendix II listing would limit the trade to sustainable levels.
    • This September, 182 Parties will decide whether or not to give this species the protections it so desperately needs.

Parties should vote to list silky sharks on CITES Appendix II at COP17.

A listing on CITES Appendix II means that the trade of that animal must be controlled in order to avoid endangerment and extinction. If the person/company/country etc cannot show proof of sustainability, then the animal cannot be traded. This, in effect, leads to their protection, as it is nearly impossible to prove sustainable trade of these animals.

For more information about CITES, check out their website here.

CITES Appendix II: Silky Shark

silky shark diving bahamas

silky shark diving bahamas

Pew Commends Broad Global Support for Proposed Shark and Ray Protections

According to PEW’s website, silky sharks, bigeye thresher sharks, common thresher sharks, and pelagic thresher sharks are particularly vulnerable throughout their habitat. Whether it’s from targeted shark fisheries, by-catch, or the extreme levels of unregulated/illegal fishing, these species have suffered dramatic population declines, around 70%.

CITES is recognized globally as one of the most effective and best-enforced international conservation agreements. It provides protection to more than 30,000 species around the world and has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of many plants and animals.  Votes on the proposed listings for thresher and silky sharks and mobula rays will take place at the CITES meeting in Johannesburg in September.

Source: Pew Commends Broad Global Support for Proposed Shark and Ray Protections