Debra Canabal

Debra Canabal earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science with a concentration in neuroscience at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She did her thesis work on the brain’s role in Diabetes. She was also a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant in which she facilitated the science curriculum for inner city school systems. After completing her Ph.D. she became an animal nutritionist for pharmaceutical companies. During graduate school, she went on her first shark dive in the Bay Islands of Honduras. She immediately developed a passion and love for sharks. As her love for shark deepened, she focused her efforts on their preservation and joined Shark Research Institute as Director of Development. In 2010 Debra started Epic Diving, an ecotourism company that specializes in shark diving. Through Epic Diving, she has used ecotourism as a platform to aid in the protection of sharks. She works with several non-profits as well as shark scientists. She also takes photographers, filmmakers and shark enthusiasts out diving with oceanic whitetips, tigers and great hammerheads. She does outreach in the local communities and schools. In addition she has also started a scholarship program at Epic Diving which grants senior high school students a full tuition scholarship to the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute in Nassau. Debra believes ecotourism, research, awareness and education will lead to the conservation of sharks, and hopes to inspire a new outlook on sharks and the need for their protection.

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  • Tourism Operator


  • Shark Diving, Underwater Photography
  • Scuba Diving


  • Shark Diving Operator, Shark Handler, Underwater Photographer
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