Marine science student a shark warrior

March 19, 2013

Murdoch University marine science student Colby Bignell is a great white shark warrior.

Mr Bignell, recently returned from a trip to South Africa where he spent two weeks in Mossel Bay as part of the White Shark Africa – Shark Warriors program.

Travel for his trip was funded in part by Murdoch University’s Vice Chancellor’s Student Development Program, which provides financial support to students undertaking professional development activities relevant to their course.

“I worked on a research project collecting data on great white sharks,” Mr Bignell said.

“I also spent some time tagging and releasing species of smaller sharks to be added to an international database.”

Data was collected on the sex, size, species and location of the sharks and forwarded to the Oceanographic Research Institute which monitors shark numbers and potential overfishing.

“I have a huge passion for sharks and wanted to do something different that would give me an experience few others have had, and South Africa gave me that,” Mr Bignell said.

“Having a 3.5m shark chomping on the cage less than 30cm in front of me was amazing.”

As a child, Mr Bignell spent a lot of time exploring the waters around his grandparents’ island shack in the Dampier Archipelago.

He said the South African experience had refreshed his early fascination and cemented his life-long commitment to working on conservation of the ocean.

The South African shark program is open to anyone with a keen interest in sharks and aims to boost community awareness and education about the conservation of all shark species.

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