Andy Murch

Andy Murch is a freelance Photojournalist specializing in sharks and rays. He is the CEO and Expedition Leader at Big Fish Expeditions and the driving force behind the Predators in Peril Project.

Having escaped from the UK in the 1980’s, Andy wandered the planet in search of adventure. Over a 20 year span he has traveled through more than 70 countries collecting experiences and images.

In the mid 90’s, Andy worked as a Dive Master in the Bay Islands of Honduras which laid the foundation for later opportunities in the diving world.

In early 2000 he joined SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation as a Submersible Pilot. After training in the Kelp forests of California’s Catalina Island, Andy worked as Operations Manager with Cayman Submariners and later as a Pilot Instructor for SEAmagine in various locations around the globe.

His love affair with sharks and rays started shortly after he learned to dive. The more species he encountered on his travels, the more he wanted to document them in pictures for others to see. As he learned of new obscure elasmobranch species, Andy became frustrated with the vague information available for locating and diving with them. In 2002 he created Elasmodiver.com to share the information that he had personally gathered. Elasmodiver eventually grew into a widely respected resource about all aspects of sharks and rays. It now contains a useful Shark and Ray Field Guide and a Shark Picture Database with more than 10,000 images.

In mid 2004, Andy started writing and shooting for Shark Diver Magazine and soon built a name as an accomplished big animal photographer in the mainstream scuba press. His shark photographs have appeared in most widely read scuba diving magazines around the world as well as hundreds of books and a huge variety of other publications ranging from the journal Zoology to the New York Times. His images are frequently used by multi-media organizations including the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

Covers by Andy Murch

A message from Andy Murch

Underwater photographers are more than just image makers. Like all divers, marine biologists and even fishermen, we are ambassadors for the ocean and the stories and pictures that we share with the world in some small way help to shape our collective understanding of the ocean and the plight of its inhabitants.

I began shooting sharks and rays in the 1990s. After building a predictable portfolio of easily encountered species I became fascinated by the more unusual elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that divers rarely encounter. I started Elasmodiver.com to share my stories and to shine a light on this incredibly diverse and critically important group of animals.

Shooting rare sharks gets me into some unusual situations. I hope that you enjoy the images and articles and that one day we will get to dive together or simply sit down and talk sharks. I try not to take myself too seriously but while I’ve got your attention, please read on…

Not all shark species are in trouble but many are on the brink of extinction. At least 30 million sharks are killed each year to supply the Asian shark fin market. The actual figure may be well over 100 million. Because sharks mature slowly and have few offspring their numbers are falling at an alarming rate.

Sharks help to keep our oceans healthy by keeping other species of fish and invertebrates in check by preying on sick animals that would otherwise weaken the gene pool. Only sharks can do this effectively because among ocean predators, sharks are the only group with a low enough reproductive rate to avoid becoming a problem in of themselves. If we lose a single species of shark to over-fishing, what a tragic loss that would be.

This is not somebody else’s problem so please help however you can:

  • Educate those around you (kids and adults) to the plight of sharks – keep it simple but spread the word.
  • Loudly boycott establishments that sell shark fin products. This sends an important message.
  • Petition your local, state/provincial and federal governments to take notice and create legislation.
  • Encourage recreational fishermen that you know or meet to practice catch and release. Be friendly – you’ll get further.
  • Join and support conservation organizations like Shark Safe, Shark Savers, The Shark Trust, Sea Shepherd etc.

For the sharks,
Andy Murch

Diving With Sharks

In 2017, Andy co-authored Diving with Sharks, a ‘how-to’ guide designed specifically for shark divers. The book covers all aspects of shark diving and photography and includes a large section detailing where to find and dive with most species that are accessible to divers.

Andy’s Mission: The Predators in Peril Project

Recognizing the need to publicize the fragile position of many lesser known sharks, Andy now spends his free time tracking down endangered sharks that have not yet been photographed. With around 300 species of sharks yet to be recorded in the wild, he is entrenched in a daunting mission which often involves costly expeditions to look for elusive species. Some of the conservation organizations that have utilized Andy’s unique images include: WWF, IUCN, Shark Alliance, Ocean Conservancy, Shark Trust, Smithsonian, Pew Institute and many other NGOs and government bodies.

When not pursuing critically endangered sharks and rays, Andy lives and dives with his wife Laura on Vancouver Island, Canada.