Shark Week: Meet Conservationist Tadzio Bervoets
Tadzio is the manager of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and an avid shark conservationist. He was instrumental in getting sanctuaries established in St. Maarten and Saba as well as working to create a long term shark tagging program in the region. We have worked with Tadzio numerous times, as Sharks4Kids has partnered with the nature foundation and DCNA to coordinate and co lead the tagging project. Thanks to Tadzio for sharing his shark story with us!
Tadzio diving freediving with a great hammerhead Credit: Angelo Villagomez
1. What is your favorite shark and why?
I have always loved hammerhead's because of the way they look and move around in th water. Too me they are the most beautifully evolved shark. But since I have been working with tigers for the last few years I think they may have replaced tigers; their size and disposition, and the fact that they migrate throughout the Caribbean makes them a very interesting species to study. And also my favorite shark.
2. If you could see/swim/study one species of shark, what would it be?
I haven't had the opportunity yet to experience the Great White. It is definitely a dream of mine to be in the same environment as them. I also find seven gills very very interesting.
3. Can you tell us a little about your current shark conservation work?
I am the chair of the Save our Sharks Project in the Dutch Caribbean, which is a project shared between St. Maarten, Saba, St Eustatius, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We use science, such as satellite tracking, to support our conservation efforts and lobbying to create shark sanctuaries in the region. We also use education and outreach to highlight the important roles sharks play in Caribbean Marine Ecosystems.
4. Why are working hard to protect sharks in the Caribbean? Why is this important for the region?
Sharks are critical to the balance of the ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea, and their conservation is critical to supporting the functions that those ecosystems provide in terms of goods and services. Fisheries and tourism, critical to the economies of island states, are supported by the health of apex predators: sharks
The team ready to release a tagged juvenile tiger shark Credit: Jillian Morris
5. What is the most challenging part of shark conservation?
Dispelling the misconception that shake are mindless killing machines and that a good shark is a dead shark is the most challenging part of the job. But through partnering with organizations such as Sharks4kids we are definitely making strides in that department.
6. What is one thing people can do to help save sharks?
Educate yourselves! realize that these are beautiful, important animals critical to our Caribbean Way of Life. And that protecting them is essential in maintaining the balance of our beloved Caribbean Sea!
Shark education with students in St. Maarten ( Sharks4Kids and SXM Nature Foundation)