top of page

Mongabay: The ex-shark fishermen teaching schoolkids how to protect the environment

Claire Turrell

Shark conservationist Kathy Xu joined with ex-shark fishermen on the Indonesian island of Lombok to launch The Dorsal Effect

LOMBOK, Indonesia — Suhardi, 43, glides across a technicolor coral garden. Freediving down to the seafloor, he scoops up a handful of sand that he sprinkles over the reef. The reef becomes a blur of color as reef fish scurry from all four corners to see what delicacies can be found among the falling grains. Powering through the current, Suhardi looks more at home than he does on shore.

He points out a trumpetfish hovering over the reef below us, and a painterly Picasso triggerfish swimming by. Then Suhardi’s pace quickens as he points into the distance. He’s seen something that my untrained eyes are yet to pick up. He stays hovering above the reef knowing it’s still there. Then a blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) suddenly comes into view.

Suhardi isn’t your average snorkeling guide. Born on the Indonesian island of Lombok, he’s spent his life on water. While he now seeks out sharks for the enjoyment of tourists, he once hunted sharks to help earn money to feed his family and educate his two children.

bottom of page