Sharks Educational Institute - passion for shark awareness learning

The Sharks Educational Institute is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the education for the marine conservation, founded by Fernando Reis in 2016.

Our principal focus of work is the development of the issues related to the marine environmental education of the younger and their active participation in the conservation of the sharks' species in their natural habitats.

Our vision is to enhance the public general knowledge of the marine life balance, based on sharks' conservation, all through our stakeholders' influences and involvement.

Our mission is to create new educational events geared towards a better knowledge of the marine life balance supported on sharks.

The Values of the Sharks Educational Institute are: Respect - Collaboration - Passion - Creativity - Teaching.

RESPECT is for caring - We care for others, for the planet, its nature, and for all oceans life forms.

COLLABORATION is for doing - When we do things together, studying, learning and helping becomes more effective.

PASSION is for protecting - We protect what we love.

CREATIVITY is for dreaming - We dream of educating our children to live in a better world.

TEACHING is for sharing - When we share what we have learned, the notion of knowledge takes on real meaning.

Thus, we wish to promote creative educational events for a better environmental marine awareness of everybody, through the cooperation with other organisations and their stakeholders, based on an active participation of all the public involved.

Please support this initiative:

An European Citizens Initiative has been presented to propose the European Parliament the legislation of the ban of shark fins trade.

This initiative is a consistent action to end shark finning and to protect sharks and oceans! Since a couple of decades, an increase market demand for shark fins, overfishing and many other human activities have bring many sharks species to the risk of extinction.

Today, we all must do our best to create awareness of the importance sharks have on the balance of all marine biodiversity and, consequently to the entire planet.

By signing and sharing this European Citizens initiative you are giving a great help to end the trade of shark fins in the EU.

Please vote here:

Why sharks with Selvam Nath?

Born in India, Selvam Ravindranath Nath is a Marine Biologist with a large experience in Education, Research and Management. For the past 18 years he was academician in the secondary school and college level, and has served in various countries like Ministry of Education, Republic of Maldives and National Board of Higher Education, State of Eritrea apart from India, having now a large experience in Marine Science Education and Management in several multi-cultural environment, both within the institutions and social levels.

In the past few years, Selvam has worked as Principal Investigator for “Studies on the stock assessment and management of shark in Eritrean Red Sea” funded by the Eritrean Research Fund (ERF). As a pilot study in this area it covered the basic population studies, identification and age determination of sharks in Massawa Red Sea coast area.

At the present date, Selvam is working for the VSO International as Subject Expert in Marine Biology, in the Philippines where he is responsible for the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs based on the capacity building for Livelihood to the community.

Apart his Masters Degree in Marine Biology, Selvam possesses a second Masters Degree in Computer Science which makes him very much familiar with the computer applications, like Data Processing & Management, GIS, in the scientific studies.

Selvam Nath is a certified PADI Dive Master which helps him also to develop his skills to work on the marine science environment for the resource assessment, planning, and shark conservation.

Highly motivated to work upon the Marine Conservation and Fisheries Management aspects, through education regarding the management and conservation of all the marine resources, Selvam R. Nath is a field oriented fellow that can bring light to the conservation and management aspects on the marine resources and its wise utilization.

With his experience in working with multi-cultural environments in the academics and research areas on resource management and livelihood programs, and in order to bring awareness throughout education as well as practice on ground, Selvam has become one of ours Sharks Educational Institute Correspondent in India, Maldives and Philippines.

Why sharks with Fernando Reis?

Fernando Reis is a conservationist, environmentalist, shark expert, specialized in shark diving training and in shark advocation, founder and Executive Director of the Sharks Educational Institute.

Master Business Administrator in Marketing, Mathematics and Drawing and Painting teacher, he becomes a diver since the earlier 80's. Nowadays, Fernando Reis is an economist teacher, a trainer, a painter, as well as a shark diver and a shark advocate. 

In the 90's he has started to dive with sharks all around the world and become a Divemaster and a White Shark Awareness Diver. Today he is a Sharks' Diver guide and trainer, as well as a board member and founder of the Sharks Atlantic Platform.

As an independent shark researcher, he has already collaborated with several associations like APECE in Portugal, Pro-Squalus in Brazil, Shark Alliance, and other international NGOs. In the Canary Islands, Spain, where he lives, he has found the Canary Islands Shark Alliance. 

Environmental conservationist from his academic training and personal development, Fernando Reis has been invited by several times as speaker at international conferences and seminars about the importance of sharks in the media marine environments and their contribution to a healthy biodiversity.

As a conservationist and environmentalist, he has been promoting conservation shark habitats projects for more than a decade. He has been Marketing Manager Director in 2006 for the Exposub Portugal, a Diving Show in Portugal, and from 2007 he is a founding member of the Portuguese Commission 'Protection of Sharks in Portugal'.

Since 2013 till March 2017, and as a founding member, he was the coordinator, and President of the Spanish Association Alianza por los Tiburones de Canarias (Canary Islands Shark Alliance). Since 2015 he was also a member of the Steering Committee of the Sharks Atlantic Platform. Since then, he is the coordinator, innovation designer and Key Note Speaker for the shark educational training on these NGOs.

Also as a marine conservationist and an environmental expert, with the Sharks Educational Institute, he has been developing several educational activities for different publics, dedicated to the marine and shark conscientiousness at a global level and he is our Shark Diving Chief Instructor Trainer.

Oriented for a better knowledge of all the marine life balance, Fernando dedicates a part of his life to sharing and to teach his skills on creative educational events, publications, multidisciplinary' exhibitions, film festivals, conferences, workshops, and lectures. Also between 2014 and 2017, he was the director of the Canary Islands International Underwater Film Festival.

As executive director of the Sharks Educational Institute, Fernando Reis assures the long-range of the Institute's strategy through the development of new educative proposals with the stakeholders and partners of the organization, based on the best working knowledge of the most significant developments and achievements in the field of shark awareness and marine conservation. He designs, develops and implements the most customer-oriented plans for the different activities the Sharks Educational Institute realizes together with its partners into their public events, and he is one of the Sharks Institute's instructor-trainers for the shark diving workshops and courses.

Why sharks with Ila France Porcher?

Ila France Porcher is a self taught, published shark ethologist. After university studies in chemistry, physics, math, and biology, she began as a wildlife artist, recording the intelligent actions of the wild animals she painted.

After moving to Tahiti in 1995 she focused on sharks, due to their intriguing and complex actions. It was clear that their behaviour was very different from the other wild animals she had known, so she began studying them intensively as animals and individuals in an attempt to learn what they were like.

Following the precepts of cognitive ethology, she systematically observed them underwater, and recorded their actions. Over many years she found the first evidence of cognition in sharks, which Arthur A. Myrberg, formerly of the University of Miami, presented at a symposium on cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany in 2003. 

Her finding of the gestation period of the Blacktip Reef Shark was published in the journal Marine Biology.

She became a pioneer in the battle to protect sharks when the hundreds of sharks she was studying, along with shark populations on island reefs throughout the country, were finned. She wrote down their story in the book “The Shark Sessions,” first published as “My Sunset Rendezvous” in 2010. 

Since then she observed tiger sharks and lemon sharks underwater in the Bahamas and wrote “The True Nature of Sharks”, a full scale presentation of wild shark behaviour, which was published in 2017. 

Her book about sea turtle behaviour, based on observations of four green sea turtles she rehabilitated and released in Tahiti, entitled, Merlin, The Mind of a Sea Turtle, was also published that year.

She was a co-author of “The role of learning in shark behaviour” published in 2009 by Tristan Guttridge in “Fish and Fisheries” and has published a variety of articles on animal behaviour and intelligence over the years. She is a contributor to LiveScience, and X-ray International Dive magazine.

Reiterating her commitment to raising awareness and improving the understanding of the role of sharks in guardian the marine balance, Ila France integrates the SEI's Board as our Shark Behaviour Specialist Advisor.

Why sharks with Walter Nisa-Castro-Neto?

Graduated in Biological Sciences and Master in Biosciences (Zoology) by Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in 2001, Walter Nisa-Castro-Neto is a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology Applied to Health (PPGBioSaúde) from the Universidade Luterana do Brasil since 2015. 

In 2001, he started his career as a Specialist in Methodology in Health Research by the 'Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul' (UFRGS). And Walter Nisa-Castro-Neto was also the Research Coordinator in the Sector of Physiatrics and Rehabilitation of the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA) during the years 2000 to 2005. 

Specialist in Methodology in Health Research by the 'Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul' (UFRGS) in 2001, he become from March 2006 to December 2012 the coordinator of the Course Biological Sciences of the Universidade Luterana do Brasil (Torres). It was also during this period, when Walter developed and applied different Extension Projects, Research always related to the academics with the Community that were inserted. 

Currently Walter is the CEO of the 'Organização para a Pesquisa e a Conservação de Esqualos no Brasil - PRÓ-SQUALUS' (Sharks' Research and Conservation Organization in Brazil) and coordinates the PROJETO CARCHARIAS since its creation in 1988 and in the Torres Pass (SC) with the Fishing Community since 2000. 

During the years of working with PRÓ-SQUALUS - PROJETO CARCHARIAS, he developed different community programs on Environmental Education and Health and Quality of Life, as well as Biological Research programs, with the Torres Community of Torres and with students from Torres (RS), Brazil. 

Since 2017, Walter has developed a new project with 'Escolares do Ensino Fundamental' from Torres (RS), Brazil, the Environmental Education Project, and at an international level he is actually one of our shark advocates. With his experience and developed work on shark conservation, we are greatly honoured to have Water Nisa as Sharks Educational Institute Correspondent in Brazil since 2019.

Why sharks' education with Patrícia Mega?

Patrícia is a Portuguese marine biologist, shark conservationist and educator.

It was during her volunteer stint at the Bimini Sharklab that she experienced her first shark encounter and ignited her passion for sharks. During her stay in Bimini, Bahamas, she helped some projects such as shark’s social behaviour and have done some field work like tagging and tracking sharks.

After that she decided to start her master degree in marine ecology. Now, she has got a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification, she loves being in the ocean and she has done some beach and dive cleanups. For all those reasons, she loves to spread ocean education teaching how to use less plastic and be more sustainable.

She has also done several activities with the younger ones about marine conservation, sharks’ awareness and protection of the sea, throughout her career development.

In resume, Patrícia absolutely loves sharks and teaching all about them, which grounds she become one of the Sharks Educational Institute's members. As our Sharks Educational Institute Delegate, Patrícia is responsible for education and awareness events, and oriented to develop new conservationist and educational initiatives in Portugal.

Why sharks with Pascal Gospodinov?

Pascal Gospodinov was a simple mechanic when he had his very first shark encounter in 1995, freediving in the waters of Isla Margherita (Venezuela). This encounter was very different from what he thought to know about sharks. This Blacktip Reef Shark girl was so shy but also driven by curiosity and so much more that can't be expressed with words. But she wasn't the creature that people call “shark”… this encounter was the game changer in Pascal's life!

Of French origins, Pascal Gospodinov grew up in Germany, and lived in several different countries. Today he lives in La Paz, BCS, Mexico; and beside French and German he also speaks fluent English and Spanish. 

After that first encounter, he began to dive and went back to university to become a shark behaviourist. Then, Pascal met Erich Ritter who was one of the biologists in that time who propagated a different idea of shark behaviour, ideas that matched much more with Pascal's shark experiences than any others. After that, Pascal joined the SERC (Shark Education and Research Center) in 2003 to do his degree thesis. After obtaining his MSC Diploma degree, he began his PhD project on 'Shark reaction on human stress', he wanted to know how human behaviour affects sharks and if human misbehaviour and stress would lead to accidents. 

During that time he taught shark-human interaction workshops and served as research project supervisor at SharkSchool.The big idea was to find correlation of factors that leads to shark accidents and to find reliable accident prevention rules.

Actually Pascal main focus is the education of the general public in regard of changing the image of sharks; „Forget what you learned about sharks and begin to „listen“ to them!“. 

His love for sharks made him travel a lot and he worked and dove with sharks all around the world; Egypt, La Réunion, Mexico, Ecuador, South Africa, Azores, just to name some of the most significant spots. Today he works in the beautiful Revillagigedo archipelago, Socorro islands in Baja California. 

Today, we can say Pascal knows a lot about the pros and contras of all types of shark dives and he is very happy to talk about it. Beside diving and sharks, he loves boats and to work on them. He is a pleasure yacht captain and chief mate for commercial vessel. Probably due to his international roots, Pascal is a very social and friendly person.

Diver and conservationist, Pascal is also one of the scientific advisers of the German NGO „Stop Finning“ and, since 2016, he is one of the Shark Behaviourist Advisers for the Sharks Educational Institute.

Why sharks' educational events with Núrya Inocentes?

Núrya Inocentes was born in Portugal, where its deep blue sea has always fascinated her. While doing her BSc in Biology, she then realized the beauty of elasmobranchs – and since then, her thirst for knowledge about these fantastic creatures has only grown. 

In 2013 Núrya graduated with a specialization in Marine Biology by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, and became a MSc in Marine Biology by the University of Aveiro in 2016. 

It was also in 2013 when she first experienced the wonders of Scuba Diving, being now an Advanced Open Water Diver she looks forward to improve her training as an expert scuba diver. She also has a Skipper’s License, which allowed her already to work in an ecotourism business company in the Algarve for one year. While she did not directly work with sharks, it was there where she had her first encounter with a shark on its natural environment, a Hammerhead.

Since March 2018, Núrya joined the SEI's international team as a member in order to lend her voice to sharks, these wonderful creatures that cannot speak for themselves. 

Nowadays, she is one of our shark advocates and, as she likes to spend her time raising awareness about all things ocean, namely the dangers of plastic pollution, and the needs of shark conservation, we are also happy to count with Núrya as a Sharks Educational Institute Correspondent in Portugal.

Why sharks' underwater photography with Peter Mainka?

Born in Germany, Peter Mainka is an Electronic Engineer that started with photography as a hobby in the Technical College Workshops. As an avid amateur photographer, there have been several attempts to take pictures under water.

Arrived in UAE in 2001 as a happy Advanced Open Water Diver. Only this very year he got his first real underwater camera from Sea & Sea for Color slide. Thereafter, he experienced a lot of differences from the surface photography, to the point that some of his underwater color slides have been later digitized and are still shown today.

In parallel, Peter has advanced in diving up to PADI Master Instructor, reluctantly giving up from the analogue photography and changing to digital compact cameras with proper housings and strobes.

But finally, a few years ago, he got a proper housing (Subal with several ports) for the Nikon D300 and some powerful strobes (Hartenberger), and the results have improved with growing experience while diving all over the world, when on vacation from his real job as an Electronic Engineering Consultant.

In the beginning of 2018, and with his experience on Shark Diving Workshops, Peter Mainka becomes officially one of ours Sharks Educational Institute's Underwater Shark Photographers.

Why sharks with Chris Bridge?

Chris qualified as a PADI Open Water Diver in the freezing cold waters of the United Kingdom, North Wales to be precise, and since then has barely been able to keep himself dry. His eagerness to keep on progressing in the diving world gained him his first volunteer position assessing the impacts of mooring scars on the beaches along the Lyn peninsula for Countryside Council for Wales. His eyes were opened from this work to the impact that humans are having upon the marine ecosystem. He was lucky enough to then become a part of teams conducting invasive species management in marinas and also working with governing bodies, assessing the capabilities of other scientific divers before the survey season and research began. All this as well as diving for fun and earning his PADI Master Scuba Trainer.

Having studied at Bangor university earning a Bachelors degree in Sport Science, Chris found that his lack of a marine/conservation science background made it difficult to progress in his career in the field. So he packed up and flew half way around the world to work in Fiji, on a marine research base on the tiny island of Caqalai as a Dive Officer. This was the perfect location to educate himself further in the field of marine biology, as most of his time was spent surveying, or teaching others how to survey. Not to mention the perks of diving in crystal clear waters with Whitetip Reef Sharks and some occasional Humpback whales. While in Fiji, Chris visited the shark hottest spots, such as Beqa Lagoon to dive with Bull Sharks, Sicklefin Lemon, Silvertip Sharks, Grey Reef and Whitetip Reef Sharks; and Savusavu to dive with schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.

Chris Bridge believes that he can use his courses to educate and convince people that they can really make a difference to the marine world, if even just by spreading the message and taking part in clean-ups. He works now in the UAE, on the East coast, as a Diving Instructor, and with his large experience he is one of our Shark Diving Advisers in the Arabian Seas Region.

Why sharks with Kayleigh Hyslop?

Kayleigh was born and raised in United Kingdom. Thanks to her amazing parents, since a young age she was able to travel and see the world. At the age of 12 Kayleigh went diving for the first time, evidently sparking her devotion for the ocean.

In 2013 Kayleigh graduated from Plymouth University with a BSc Hons Degree in Conservation Biology. Her dissertation studying the impact of by-batch from long line fishing, highlighted the issues facing shark populations worldwide. Soon after graduating she headed to Utila, Honduras, to start her career in the diving industry.

Now a Master Scuba Diver Trainer for PADI, she is working her way around the world trying to make a difference through education. In 2017, Kayleigh ventured to South Africa and was fortunate to dive with Blacktips, Hammerheads, Bull Sharks, Whitetips and Whale Sharks. 

Also in 2017, Kayleigh started her blog ‘Follow The White Fin’ for people to follow her travels and adventures and to share her passion for all marine life with the world.

Kayleigh believes that the scuba diving community is the key to sharks survival, therefore she uses her job to educate all her students in the importance of the ocean and its inhabitants. Those are all reasons why she become one of our Shark Diving Advisers.

Why marine environment with Adam Evans?

Currently based in York, England, Adam has been Diving since he was 16. His introduction to ocean conservation came in Barbados in 2015, where he worked with Barbados Blue in saving coral reefs from invasive lion fish species. With no natural predators in this environment, the alien species were growing fast in number, consuming a threatening amount of smaller fish. The aim of the project was to encourage skeptical locals to choose to eat lion fish over other fish, to reduce their dominance over the reef.

After getting a taste of what lies below the surface, in 2016 Adam lived out his dream of completing his SSI Divemaster and Dive Control Specialist training. Using this he was able to take clients to dive with black tip reef sharks daily in Thailand. He took this as an opportunity to show people the excitement of finding sharks on a dive and help break irrational fears of sharks that clients may have. Here he was also able to get involved in conservation projects such as waste clean-up dives around the pier and Trash Hero Thailand, a project aimed at reducing plastic waste, focusing on cutting down on the use of plastic bottles. 

Adam is an Ocean Quest/Sea Shepard Coral Propagation Diver, using these skills in Thailand to build a coral nursery, made using coral fragments recovered from dying coral. This coral is taken from heavily accessed dive sites to more remote locations where the coral can recover and grow into a new healthy reef. A method which may prove key in recovering dying coral reefs.

Adam then received training from scientist and shark specialist Pascal Gospodinov after becoming a shark diver in the Azores. Here he was able to expand his knowledge and experience with pelagic sharks and learn key skills in observing shark behaviour, as well as shark-human interaction.

Through his diving experience and scientific knowledge through his Chemistry undergraduate degree, Adam is keen to dive with purpose and help educate people on sharks and the intricate ecosystem of the ocean. Adam is currently studying for his master’s degree in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York and hopes to use this as a platform to help protect sharks and rejuvenate the health of our ocean. 

In 2017 Adam moved to Indonesia to work with Gili Shark Conservation completing fish identification training and becoming a PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Diver. Adam gathered important data as a research diver to be put forward to argue for a marine park around all Gili islands, as well as getting involved in beach clean-up operations to help raise awareness of the huge amount of plastic waste in the area. 

Marine protected areas and waste management are crucial to preserving valuable and fragile shark populations, as well as all endangered marine life. It is for these reasons Adam has become one of our Marine Environmental Advisers here at Sharks Educational Institute.

Why sharks with Grace TSP?

Sharks have more than 400 million years of evolution, first humans less than one million, and Grace’s passion for sharks stems from her curiosity in answering the question: what can we learn from these incredible creatures that pre-date even the dinosaurs?

Having experienced her first shark encounter back in 2012, Grace’s love for shark conservation and research has snowballed ever since and has taken her around the globe from volunteering as a shark research diver in Indonesia to working as a shark guide in the Azores. 

Currently studying for her MSc in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York, Grace longs to help further Elasmobranch studies, particularly that relating to shark behavior as well as educating future generations about Sharks and their relatives. It was this particular interest in Shark Behavior that brought Grace and shark behavior specialist, Pascal Gospodinov together on Pico Island in the Azores where Grace partook In Shark School workshops focusing on shark-human interaction. This in turn, gave grace the knowledge to understand and interact with a number of large pelagic species such as Blue sharks and their infamous friends the Mako shark. 

From the Grey Reef Sharks of the Maldives to Thailand’s Black Tips to Australia’s Spotted Ragged-Tooth sharks, Grace has an array of experience diving with different shark species from her travels. During a 5-month period in Thailand in 2016-2017, Grace undertook Sea Shepard’s ‘Coral Propagation Course’ enabling her to aid the planting of an entirely new coral nursery off the coast of Koh Phi Phi commenting that “Saving and restoring shark populations includes protecting the entire ecosystem in which they long to flourish…all the way down to the polyps that make up a coral reef”.

Following this experience, Grace moved to Gili Air in Indonesia to assist the Gili Shark Conservation organization in collecting data on local shark species as well as indicator species with the ultimate goal of forming a scientific basis to bequeath the whole of the Gili Islands with MPA (Marine Protected Area) status. As an SSI Assistant Scuba-Diving Instructor and PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Diver, Grace longs to continue to utilize and combine her passion for diving and sharks to not only conserve sharks and further research into their still largely mysterious existence but also to educate the public on what we already know and have already learnt from these incredible creatures.

Grace has a particular interest in changing how the media presents sharks and hopes that with education, the general public will start to receive unbiased and informed information on sharks rather than the sensationalist and scaremongering tactics present in current media outlets. It was this desire and drive that facilitated Grace to become one of our Shark Diving Advisers.

A sea without sharks is a sea without life.