Sharks & Rays Conservation Research Program

Sharks are Gaining Increased Protection

Mote Marine Laboratory’s “Sharks & Rays Conservation Research Program” is dedicated to studying the biology, ecology and conservation of sharks and their relatives, the skates and rays. These fishes comprise about 1,000 species worldwide, many of which are threatened by overfishing and environmental impacts.

 

Sharks are gaining increased protection and scientific attention in Belize, thanks to a team effort including government fisheries managers, fisherfolk, and scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory.

 

Sharks are important predators in healthy marine ecosystems, but they’re in trouble in many parts of the world, including many Caribbean areas. To improve shark management in Belize, the Government of Belize recently announced new regulations prohibiting shark fishing within 2 nautical miles of Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe atolls—a total area of about 1,500 square miles. These measures stem from recommendations of the National Shark Working Group composed of government, shark fisherfolk, non-government organizations and researchers.

 

Dr. Demian Chapman, Director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research and member of the National Shark Working Group, has studied sharks and rays in Belize for more than 20 years, often teaming up with local partners.

 

Global FinPrint data helped to inform Belize’s new regulations and will continue to drive a new phase of science-based conservation efforts spearheaded by Mote—Expanding the Global FinPrint. To help shark populations rebound from global challenges such as unsustainable harvest and habitat loss, Mote is partnering with local grassroots organizations, governments and fisherfolk in countries where there is high conservation potential for reef sharks. Funding and scientific support are being directed to people in these locations so they can implement management approaches that are likely to work both for reef sharks and people.

 

Through Expanding the Global FinPrint, Mote and partners aim to achieve more successes like those already unfolding in Belize. There, a new initiative of the National Shark Working Group is combining fishers’ knowledge of how and where to catch sharks with Mote’s experience tracking sharks’ movement with electronic tags.

 

This cooperative shark tagging program is a win for everybody because sharks are tagged instead of being landed, the fishers are hired for research, and the scientists and managers obtain useful information. “We really enjoy tagging sharks with Dr. Chapman and the science crew,” said Hector Martinez Jr., a shark fisher. “We all learn a lot from one another and have come to respect each other’s viewpoints on shark management in the country.”

Sharks are Gaining Increased Protection

Mote Marine Laboratory’s “Sharks & Rays Conservation Research Program” is dedicated to studying the biology, ecology and conservation of sharks and their relatives, the skates and rays. These fishes comprise about 1,000 species worldwide, many of which are threatened by overfishing and environmental impacts.

 

Sharks are gaining increased protection and scientific attention in Belize, thanks to a team effort including government fisheries managers, fisherfolk, and scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory.

 

Sharks are important predators in healthy marine ecosystems, but they’re in trouble in many parts of the world, including many Caribbean areas. To improve shark management in Belize, the Government of Belize recently announced new regulations prohibiting shark fishing within 2 nautical miles of Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe atolls—a total area of about 1,500 square miles. These measures stem from recommendations of the National Shark Working Group composed of government, shark fisherfolk, non-government organizations and researchers.



 

Dr. Demian Chapman, Director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research and member of the National Shark Working Group, has studied sharks and rays in Belize for more than 20 years, often teaming up with local partners.

 

Global FinPrint data helped to inform Belize’s new regulations and will continue to drive a new phase of science-based conservation efforts spearheaded by Mote—Expanding the Global FinPrint. To help shark populations rebound from global challenges such as unsustainable harvest and habitat loss, Mote is partnering with local grassroots organizations, governments and fisherfolk in countries where there is high conservation potential for reef sharks. Funding and scientific support are being directed to people in these locations so they can implement management approaches that are likely to work both for reef sharks and people.

 

Through Expanding the Global FinPrint, Mote and partners aim to achieve more successes like those already unfolding in Belize. There, a new initiative of the National Shark Working Group is combining fishers’ knowledge of how and where to catch sharks with Mote’s experience tracking sharks’ movement with electronic tags.

 

This cooperative shark tagging program is a win for everybody because sharks are tagged instead of being landed, the fishers are hired for research, and the scientists and managers obtain useful information. “We really enjoy tagging sharks with Dr. Chapman and the science crew,” said Hector Martinez Jr., a shark fisher. “We all learn a lot from one another and have come to respect each other’s viewpoints on shark management in the country.”


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