Shark News | Issue 05 | April 2022
I want to invite you to discover and read the fifth issue of the Shark News magazine today!
Shark News was the original IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC)‘s Shark Specialist Group (SSG) newsletter published between 1994 and 2004. In 2021, we revived and reshaped this magazine in its new and modern format to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the SSG, to provide a forum for exchanging information on all aspects of shark, ray, and chimaera conservation matters for SSG members and the general interested audience.
« With the next Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) Conference of Parties around the corner, it is perhaps not surprising that this issue has several stories related to the trade in shark products and implementation. First, a team from Dalhousie University introduces us to a global project being undertaken to uncover the trade in shark meat, a trade that is increasing and yet for which we have little information on species and quantities. We share the news of the publication of a three-volume guide series on CITES-listed species that Debra Abercrombie and myself worked on over the last few years to support the implementation of trade controls and which will allow the identification of whole sharks, trunks, and dried products (fins, rostra, and gill plates). We have a note to emphasize the detrimental impact of trade on South American Freshwater Stingrays and highlight how CITES can ensure this trade can be regulated. And we have results from a new study showcasing trade data which indicates that European Union Member States provide almost a third of shark-related fin imports into Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. There have also been announcements for new listing proposals for sharks on CITES, so watch this space as things unfold over the next few months.
Our feature story is about Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRA), a project we have recently embarked on that I am convinced will make a difference for shark conservation. Over the last four months, a team from within the SSG, IUCN Ocean Team, and IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has been busy developing this concept. This first story gives you an idea of what we are working on but stay tuned! There are lots more to come on this very soon as we finalize the ISRA selection criteria and decide on our first region of work. The importance of delineating such critical habitat for sharks and their contribution to species conservation is highlighted in a story on Angel Sharks in the Mediterranean and echoes the feedback we have received about this initiative. We need to identify areas important for the survival of species so that decisions makers can make informed decisions when designing and implementing marine protected areas. Some of these ISRAs might be sites like those discovered for the Giant Guitarfish (Glaucostegus typus) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India – areas that Critically Endangered species use as nursery areas and that are critical for the survival of the species.
Other stories show how consolidating available data can further our knowledge of species distribution of Bull Sharks and how engaging with recreational anglers, although an activity that might seem controversial for many, can be a valuable source of data and contribute to supporting fisheries management decisions. We highlight more work by dedicated and inspiring educators working hard in The Bahamas and Brazil to ensure the next generation cares about the marine environment and can become advocates for sharks. In The Bahamas, they are fortunate to work with children who regularly see sharks in their backyard and have had this wonderful experience so early in their lives. In Brazil, educators have to be very creative in their initiatives working with museum specimens, artists, and increasingly used cards were published online weekly even during the pandemic to make sure they can reach students without in-person activities.
Our regular contributor Chelsea Stein has yet again done an incredible job with her Q&A piece. She interviewed Dr Michelle Heupel, who pioneered the work on shark movement ecology. She provides us with an insight into how she got started and how her research has had a broader impact across the field of shark and fisheries management. Michelle also spearheaded the first global shark conference – now the only global shark science meeting taking place every four years: Sharks International. The 2022 edition of this conference is fast approaching, and the organizers have provided additional details on the event. With an update on the last meeting of the European Elasmobranch Association, we also learn that this year’s meeting will be combined with Sharks International in November in Valencia, Spain. Finally, this issue also contains several announcements for grants and funding opportunities that might be of particular importance to our members and others working on sharks worldwide. »Dr Rima W. Jabado | IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG) Chair
Once again, I would like to thank my dad – Peter Scholl – for designing this new issue, and generously donating his time, expertise and passion for this project! It is also a great pleasure – for both of us – to work together again on this magazine series, following our collaboration between 2014 and 2019 in the publication of the Save Our Seas magazine.
I also would like to recognise and thank the many people who have contributed their articles and photos, and helped shape this fifth issue: Rima Jabado, Alexandra Zoe Morata, Chelsea Stein, Marc Dando, Lauren De Vos, Guy Stevens, Michelle Heupel, Paul de Bruyn, Daniel Fernando, Evgeny Romanov, Irene Kingma, Ioannis Giovos, Roxani Naasan Aga – Spyridopoulou, Peter Gausmann, Ana Martins, Christopher Mull, Zoya Tyabji, Aaron MacNeil, Jillian Morris Brake, Evan Nazareth, Hannah Rudd, Georgia Jones, Patricia Charvet, Gregory Prang, Maria Lúcia Góes de Araújo, Maria Cristina Oddone, Dr Cassie Rigby, Luke Warwick, Peter Kyne, Peter Scholl, The Ocean Image Bank, The Manta Trust, Sharks4Kids, and all the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG) members.
Check out our previous issues: