Bimini ’15

Project type: Shark tagging expedition
Date: February 12-19, 2015
Location: Bimini, Bahamas
Project target: To place acoustic tags on great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) to monitor their migratory pattern. To speak with government officials of the Caribbean states to create more marine sanctuaries for sharks and rays
Lead Scientist: Dr. Tristan Guttridge
Tagging team: William Winram, assisted by Laurent Egli
Organizer: THE WATERMEN PROJECT & The Pew Charitable Trust

The Pew Charitable Trusts invited IUCN Ocean Ambassador William WInram to be a guest alongside former President of Costa Rica José Maria Figueres, Sir Richard Branson as well as Dr. Edd Brooks of the Cape Eleuthera Institute.

The Pew Charitable Trusts intention was to inspire the invited government officials of the Caribbean states to follow in the same footsteps as the Bahamas and BVI, and pledge to create marine protected areas and more specifically, sanctuaries for sharks and rays. A real challenge when you consider that with its more than 700 islands, the Caribbean is governed by 13 sovereign states and 17 dependent territories. A geopolitical puzzle, a giant maze of legislation, a sea of countries.

The Caribbeans

The Caribbeans

Shark dive and shark tagging

Beyond a conference, The Pew Charitable Trusts felt it was important government officials see what shark conservation is about and why it’s important, in situ. And so after Dr. Edd Brooks talk over lunch, the government delegations were invited for an up close and personal look at sharks.
We started the day’s dive with the Caribbean reef sharks – there were about 18 of them. After the reef sharks we headed for the Great Hammerhead sharks dive. Almost everyone, although already a bit cold, got in the water to see the great hammerhead shark. We waited some time for everyone to have a look and then William tagged her and sent her on her way with a brand new acoustic tag.

Tagging Great Hammerhead sharks - Photo Laurent Egli

Tagging Great Hammerhead sharks – Photo Laurent Egli

Caribbean round table

Over breakfast that morning, Sir Richard Branson hosted a meeting during which he explained to the delegates the commercial value of sharks alive rather than dead along with the obvious health and vitality that they maintain for ocean ecosystems – basically everyone agreed that without sharks our oceans will not remain healthy and viable.

During the discussions, the importance of sharks was well recognized as was the importance of a healthy ocean. William Winram was asked to share his thoughts and he touched on the fact that in many marine protected areas (MPAs) the fee for entry is not on a level comparable with the enormous beauty and rarity of the park. Moreover, when you realize that most marine protected areas do not have sufficient funding to allow proper patrolling of their waters and protection for the area it becomes clear that there needs to be a higher cost of entry so that tourists can continue to enjoy these amazing underwater worlds.
Indeed, from what we have learned in speaking to many tourists over the years in different MPAs most would happily pay more knowing that they were contributing to their protection.

It was interesting to hear about the evolution of the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary and how the Bahamian Trust, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Bahamian Government and the Bahamian people helped to make this a reality.

The Pew Charitable Trust event statewomen and statemen, guests and speakers

The Pew Charitable Trust event statewomen and statemen, guests and speakers


The Watermen Team was pleased to have met all of the delegates, particularly Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering who is Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour of the Government of the British Virgin Islands, Dr. Edd Brooks, President José María Figueres and Sir Richard Branson. Dr. Edd Brooks is such an amazing inspiration for creating and running the Cape Eleuthera Institute, José María is an eloquent speaker and an extremely intelligent gentleman in the truest sense of the word. I also briefly spoke with Richard Branson about shark tagging and he was truly one of the most humble and genuine people we have met… a true pleasure.

In conclusion

The Watermen Project team is often invited to speak in land-locked cities about the importance of ocean conservation, about the intricate relationship we have with the sea, whether we live by it or in the mountains far away from it. It regulates our weather, it provides our water, all our run-offs however remote on earth, end up in the ocean.

It is pir hope that Caribbean governments which are seabound by their geographic nature lead the way and protect what must be protected. The pledging for the future of the ocean starts now.

Webinar with CWF

Project type: Webinar
Date: January 15, 2014 – 1:15-1:45pm (EST)
Location: Bimini, Bahamas
Project target: To engage young students in a discussion about freediving and sharks.
Team: William Winram and webinar host Dr Sean Brilliant, CWF Marine Programs Manager
Participants to webinar: grade 4-6 students from north America.

On January 15, 2014, while on location of the recent shark tagging expedition, THE WATERMEN PROJECT founder and team member William Winram will be engaging his favourite crowd on the subject of freediving and sharks.

From the CWF website:
Educators and students are invited to join the Canadian Wildlife Federation for a wild webinar featuring Canadian free diver William Winram live from Bimini area of the Bahamas where tagging of Hammerhead sharks is underway. Winram is a world record-holding free diver and shark researcher! He will explain how shark tagging is done and discuss the valuable information that tagging provides.

This webinar is also a great opportunity for students to learn more about sharks that live in Canadian waters, many of which are threatened with extinction. Participants will also engage with the CWF Salt Water Cities Kids’ Project and connect with CWF Marine Programs Manager Sean Brillant.

On the agenda:

* Welcome and introduction by webinar host Dr. Sean Brillant, CWF Marine Programs Manager
* Making it real: Canadian Free diver and shark researcher William Winram will speak about his incredible experiences tagging sharks and his adventures as a free diver, as well as about the shark research revealed by his work
* Discussion about Canadian sharks, shark tagging and their conservation
* Q & A session with the students and teachers

The Watermen Project's first websinar - Kindly hosted by the Canadian Wildlife Federation

The Watermen Project’s first webinar – Kindly hosted by the Canadian Wildlife Federation

Sharks in the City of Lights

Project type: Conference, Movie projection
Date: January 08, 2014 – 7:30pm
Location: House of the Oceans, Paris, France
Project target: To acquaint the general public with the true nature of sharks and their necessity to exist and be protected
Team: Fred Buyle
Participants to conference: up to 500

In the heart of Paris, between the Panthéon and the Sorbonne, the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco proudly boasts a Florentine Palace, the House of the Oceans, founded by Prince Albert Ist and inaugurated in 1911. Every second Wednesday of the month, a public audience is welcome in its Amphitheater for a conference.


On Wednesday January 8th, THE WATERMEN PROJECT team member Fred Buyle will have the pleasure to kick off this year’s round of conferences with a presentation titled ‘How to Reconciliate Humans and Sharks?‘.


For the occasion, the audience will also have the priviledge to watch the movie Great White Shark 3D in its first projection in French outside of North America.

Great White Shark and William Winram - artwork based on photography by Fred Buyle

Great White Shark and William Winram – artwork based on photography by Fred Buyle

Attending IMPAC3 in Marseille

Project type: Congress, Public speaking, Workshop
Dates: October 21-25, 2013
Location: Pharo Palace, Marseille, France
Project target: THE WATERMEN PROJECT to be introduced at the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress; To share breath-hold diving key advantages for ocean observation/conservation
Team: William Winram, Michèle Monico
Participants to congress: > 2000


THE WATERMEN PROJECT will participate to its first international congress on the subject of Marine Protected Areas.

It will be a unique opportunity to meet with scientists from around the world, hear what progress have been made in the realm of Marine Protected Areas research and management as well as targeting challenges for the future.

Among the highlights of the event: IMPAC3 Ambassador Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, former Chief Scientist of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and now Explorer-in-Residence with the National Geographic Society. Dr. Earle’s message is about catalyzing action for ocean Protection. In cooperation with Dan Laffoley (IUCN WCPA-marine), she will launch a map showing 50 new Hope Spots: areas in the ocean that merit immediate protection for their value to ocean ecosystems and to humankind. Panel speakers will then present their progress on specific Hope Spot locations, from the Sargasso Sea to the Arctic, and Google Earth will demonstrate their latest technology to increase awareness and action for Hope Spots.

As IUCN Global Marine & Polar MPP Oceans Ambassador William Winram will participate to two events:

A workshop titled “Underwater observation techniques to support MPA creation and management” (WS2E2); 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM in NOTRE DAME room of the Pharo Palace.

Chairpersons: Dominique PELLETIER, IFREMER ; Renata FERRARI, University of Sydney

Contributors: Vincent MARAN, French Federation for Underwater Studies and Sports ; Patrice PLA, ACSA-ALCEN ; William WINRAM, The Watermen Project ; Dorothée COULOMB, ACSA

Observing marine animals within their habitat is probably the best way to understand their behaviour and interactions. Many underwater observation techniques are available, from breath-hold or scuba diving, to high technology fixed devices and autonomous vehicles. However, beyond the magnificent images of a largely unknown world, how can these observations help in preserving marine species and their environment? This workshop will first draw a panel of various observation techniques through a contrasted selection of underwater studies. A discussion will follow on how these techniques can complement each other for the benefit of marine life preservation. In particular, practical recommendations will be proposed, in terms of Marine Protected Areas management and public involvement.

Additionnaly, William Winram will present Great White Shark, on Thursday Oct 24 in the Auditorium.

“Our mission is to change people’s attitudes toward the great white,” says Steve McNicholas, co-director of the film. “It’s not the menacing, evil predator it’s made out to be. It’s simply performing its crucial role at the top of the ocean’s food chain. Great whites are not monsters any more than the polar bears or lions.” Great White Shark is a new IMAX film which launched in May 2013 in the U.S. and Canada and is now playing worldwide. The version shown during IMPAC3 is 2D digital. World champion breath-hold diver and IUCN Oceans Ambassador William Winram is seen freediving with great white sharks in the crystal clear waters of Guadalupe, Mexico, together with colleague Fred Buyle, for Dr. Edgar Mauricio Hoyos Padilla’s ongoing research.

Film art work featuring William Winram with a great white shark

Film art work featuring William Winram with a great white shark

IMAX Great White Shark 3D in Montreal

Project type: Public speaking, Fundraiser
Date: June 1, 2013
Location: Science Center of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Project target: raise funds for The Watermen Project at the occasion of the World release of the new IMAX feature Great White Shark 3D
Team: William Winram, François Leduc, Michèle Monico
Attending guests: 100

The Watermen Project organized a fundraiser at the occasion of the Canadian Premiere of the IMAX film Great White Shark 3D, a special shark conservation fundraising event took place on June 1, 2013, at the Montreal Science Center, nestled in the Old Port of the city.

Art work featuring William Winram with a great white shark

Art work featuring William Winram with a great white shark

Invited guests enjoyed the showing of Great White Shark 3D at the Montreal Science Center IMAX theater as well as a visit to the exhibit Shark: Predator or Prey. A cocktail party followed with a slide show of past expeditions as well a Q&A sessions with two of the freedivers who participated to the filming of the Great White Shark 3D: François Leduc and William Winram.

Guests at the fundraiser - Photo Vittorio Vieira

Guests at the fundraiser – Photo Vittorio Vieira

Shark enthusiasts left with signed film posters and three lucky winners went home with a copy of Fred Buyle’s book Apnea.

Happy event - photo Vittorio Vieira

Happy fundraiser – photo Vittorio Vieira

We are grateful to all the participating guests who generously donated money which will  help The Watermen Project in its endeavours to assist scientists around the world in their research on sharks.

Mural poster for the shark events at the Centre des Sciences de Montréal - photo CSM

Mural poster for the shark events at the Centre des Sciences de Montréal – photo CSM

Geneva Museum of Natural History

Project type: Public speaking
Date: February 2, 2013
Location: Museum of Natural History, Geneva, Switzerland
Project target: show Diving with Sharks, The Watermen Project’s first documentary film
Team: William Winram & Laurent Egli
Participants: general public of 250

The Watermen Project was invited to present its film Diving with Sharks at the 9th edition of the “Month of documentary films” held at the Geneva Museum of Natural History.

Coproduction The Watermen Project & Liquid Prod

Coproduction The Watermen Project & Liquid Prod

This annual event aims at providing educational as well as entertaining films for all ages during the least sunny month of the year in Geneva: February. This year’s theme for participating documentary films was “Water”. Titled H2eau: science and extreme sports, the month-long event showed two dozen films from February 2nd to 27th, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays over a span of 36 showings.

Dr Mauricio Hoyos explains how he has not been able to place a single tag on scalloped hammerhead sharks, on scuba, in the last 5 years – Photo Laurent Egli

Dr Mauricio Hoyos explains how he has not been able to place a single tag on scalloped hammerhead sharks, on scuba, in the last 5 years – Photo Laurent Egli

Organized in partnership with the department of sports of the City of Geneva and the Museum of Natural History, this edition was officially launched with a special event organized on Saturday February 2nd.
William Winram introduced shark tagging to the audience with The Watermen Project’s first film titled Diving with Sharks, an 18-minute short which documented shark expeditions between 2009 and 2013 in the Mexican Pacific Ocean. In fact, the latest expedition was just finished mid January 2013 leaving only less than three weeks to edit the film for the premiere at the Museum.

Over 250 people turned up for the showing, some of whom could not watch the film because the auditorium had filled beyond its capacity. After the film, William graciously answered questions from the crowd of all ages, in the company of Laurent Egli, the film director and cameraman for the latter images of the documentary. The Q&A session lasted for over an hour.

William during Q&A with film director Laurent Egli - photo Natalja Egli

William during Q&A with film director Laurent Egli – photo Natalja Egli

During the month-long documentary festival, Diving with Sharks was shown along side prestigious films such as Raphaël Blanc’s Arktos: Mike Horn’s inner voyage and Jacques Perrin’s Oceans.