In 2010, the Maldives has effectively converted its 916, into a sanctuary for sharks free from all shark fishing and also banned all imports and exports of shark fins. Not only does this designation promote the conservation of sharks, but supports a growing sector of ‘shark tourism’ for the Maldives, an area renowned for its diving and diverse marine life. The Maldives were one of the first countries to recognize that sharks were a key reason tourists went to dive here. The Maldives is home to more than 30 shark species, but only a few of them often encounter diving.

A chance encounter with a shark in the wild is one of the most thrilling of underwater experiences. Dive with us and enjoy your curiosity.

Probability of observation: Easy
Dive Sites: Internal Reef

Blacktip reef shark

The Blacktip Reef Shark is found throughout nearshore waters of the Island. Although it has been reported from a depth of 75 m, the blacktip reef shark is usually found in water only a few meters deep, and can often be seen swimming close to shore with its dorsal fin exposed. Younger sharks prefer shallow, sandy flats, while older sharks are most common around reef ledges and can also be found near reef drop-offs. Most blacktip reef sharks are no more than 1.6 m long, though rarely individuals may reach 1.8 m or possibly 2.0 m. The maximum weight on record is 13.6 kg. Fast-swimming and active, the blacktip reef shark may be encountered alone or in small groups.


Probability of observation: Easy
Dive Sites:

Whitetip reef shark

The Whitetip Reef Shark is one of the three most common sharks inhabiting the reefs of the Indo-Pacific. The habitat preferences of this specie it does not tend to frequent very shallow water like the blacktip reef shark, nor the outer reef like the grey reef shark. The whitetip reef shark swims with strong undulations of its body, and unlike other requiem sharks can lie motionless on the bottom and actively pump water over its gills for respiration. This species is most common at a depth of 8–40 m. A relatively small species, few whitetip reef sharks are longer than 1.6 m. The maximum length this species attains is often given as 2.1 m. This species is most active at night or during slack tide, and spends much of the day resting inside caves singly or in small groups, arranged in parallel or stacked atop one another. They are often seen lying in the open on sandy flats.


Probability of observation: Easy to see
Dive Sites: Shark Thila - Worren Thila - Kuda Miaru Thila - Maa faru Corner

Grey reef Shark

The Grey Reef Shark has the typical "reef shark" shape, with a broad, round snout and large eyes. This species is most often seen in shallow water near the drop-offs of coral reefs. This species can be distinguished from similar species by the plain or white-tipped first dorsal fin, the dark tips on the other fins, the broad, black rear margin on the tail fin, and the lack of a ridge between the dorsal fins. Most individuals are less than 1.9 m long. Grey reef sharks are fast-swimming, agile predators that feed primarily on free-swimming bony fishes and cephalopods. Their aggressive demeanor enables them to dominate many other shark species on the reef, despite their moderate size. Many grey reef sharks have a home range on a specific area of the reef, to which they continually return. However, they are social rather than territorial. During the day, these sharks often form groups of five to 20 individuals near coral reef drop-offs, splitting up in the evening as the sharks begin to hunt. Adult females also form groups in very shallow water, where the higher water temperature may accelerate their growth or that of their unborn young. Like other members of its family, the grey reef shark is viviparous, meaning the mother nourishes her embryos through a placental connection. Litters of one to six pups are born every other year.


Probability of observation: Not so Easy
Dive Sites:
Thila inside the Atoll

nurse shark

Nurse Sharks are a typically inshore bottom-dwelling species. Juveniles are mostly found on the bottom of shallow coral reefs.whereas older individuals typically reside in and around deeper reefs and rocky areas, where they tend to seek shelter in crevices and under ledges during the day and leave their shelter at night to feed on the seabed in shallower areas. Nurse sharks are opportunistic predators that feed primarily on small fish (e.g. stingrays) and some invertebrates (e.g. crustaceans, mollusks). They are typically solitary nocturnal animals, rifling through bottom sediments in search of food at night, but often gregarious during the day forming large sedentary groups. Nurse sharks are obligate suction feeders capable of generating suction forces that are among the highest recorded for any aquatic vertebrate to date. Although their small mouths may limit the size of prey, they can exhibit a suck-and-spit behavior and/or shake their head violently to reduce the size of food items. Nurse sharks are exceptionally sedentary unlike most other shark species. Nurse sharks show strong site fidelity (typical of reef sharks), and it is one of the few shark species known to exhibit mating site fidelity,as they will return to the same breeding grounds time and time again.

Probability of observation: Not so Easy
Dive Sites: 
Thila inside the Atoll


Guitarfish have a body form intermediate between those of sharks and rays. The tail has a typical shark-like form, but in many species, the head has a triangular, or guitar-like shape, rather than the disc-shape formed by fusion with the pectoral fins found in other rays. Guitarfish are ovoviviparous; the embryo matures inside an egg inside the mother until it is ready to hatch. This is typical of rays. Guitarfish are bottom feeders which bury themselves in mud or sand and eat worms, crabs, and clams. Some can tolerate salt, fresh, and brackish water. They generally liveinside the atolls on sandy bottoms at a depth of about 30 meters.

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Probability of observation: Very hard to see
Dive Sites: Deep Waters Outside the Atoll

Hammerhead Shark

Hammerheads are found worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines. Unlike most sharks, hammerheads usually swim in schools during the day, becoming solitary hunters at night. 
The known species range from 0.9 to 6 m in length and weigh from 3 to 580 kg. They are usually light gray and have a greenish tint. Their bellies are white which allows them to blend into the ocean when viewed from the bottom and sneak up on their prey. Their heads have lateral projections which give them a hammer-like shape. Hammerheads have disproportionately small mouths and seem to do a lot of bottom-hunting.


Probability of observation: Not so Easy to see
Dive Sites: All
Thila inside the Atoll

Leopard shark

The leopard shark  is a species of carpet shark. It is found frequenting coral reefs and sandy flats to a depth of 62 m. Adult leopard sharks are distinctive in appearance, with five longitudinal ridges on a cylindrical body, a low caudal fin comprising nearly half the total length, and a pattern of dark spots on a pale background. Young leopard sharks under 50–90 cm long have a completely different pattern, consisting of light vertical stripes on a brown background, and lack the ridges. This species attains a length of 2.5 m. Leopard sharks are nocturnal and spend most of the day resting motionless on the sea floor. At night, they actively hunt for molluscs, crustaceans, small bony fishes. Though solitary for most of the year, they form large seasonal aggregations. The leopard shark is oviparous: females produce several dozen large egg capsules, which they anchor to underwater structures via adhesive tendrils. Innocuous to humans


Probability of observation: Not so easy to see
Dive Sites: On the surface Open Water while Eating

whale shark

The whale shark is a slow-moving filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. Whale sharks have very large mouths that can be 1.5 m and are filter feeders almost exclusively on plankton. The whale shark is the largest non-cetacean animal in the world. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.7 m and 9 t. Several specimens over 18 m in length have been reported. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride, although this practice is discouraged by shark scientists and conservationists because of the disturbance to the sharks. Younger whale sharks are gentle and can play with divers. The shark is seen by divers in many places but the most famous in the Maldives close to Maamigili (South Ari Atoll).