Celebrating The Year Of The Shark 2019

This year, Sharks Educational Institute joins the The Shark Group to draw public attention to the plight of Sharks, on a big and worldwide celebration: The INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SHARK 2019. 



Long-line fishing factory ships loot the oceans with lines of up to fifty miles long, and thousands of baited hooks. For every ten pounds of fish killed, they throw away one hundred pounds of marine life. This waste of fifty billion pounds of marine life yearly, including sharks, is casually referred to as “by-catch”. The massacre is comparable to that of the buffalo on the North American plains 200 years ago, but on a much larger scale.



This INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SHARK 2019 was inspired by findings of The Global Shark Assessment that at current rates of decline, the most threatened shark species would be extinct in ten to fifteen years. In large regions, species that were once numerous had fallen to 1% of their original numbers.



The latest global research finds that rampant over-fishing, driven by profits from shark fins that rival those of the drug trade, has resulted in sharks and rays being in worse shape than any other line of animals, in spite of their incalculable ecological importance. The bad reputation sharks have been given by blood thirsty tabloids, movies and the mass media, has erected a barrier to their protection and encouraged their massacre with almost no public outcry nor protest.



The goal of The Year of the Shark 2019 is to spotlight sharks' plight and work towards an international ban on their commerce, while uniting concerned individuals and organizations around the world.



Like as in 2009, the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SHARK 2019, was conceived, created, and executed by The Shark Group, founded and led by the Sharkman of Malta, Alex Buttigieg. Our Shark Behaviour Specialist, Ila France Porcher, created the Let Sharks Live Group to discuss affiliated projects and raise public support.



For more information please visit the website https://theyearoftheshark.wixsite.com/2019/ and if you wish to join us, or help by translating some of the material into another language or in other ways, you can contact us by email at: 

the.year.of.the.shark@gmail.comor at: info@sharksinstitute.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

















FLY WITH BULL RAYS

Together with the Sharklab from Malta, the South African Association for Marine Biological Research, and the IMAR from the Azores, the Sharks Educational Institute is one of the founder's organisations of the Citizen Science project Fly With Bull Rays, and coordinates all the related activities in the Canary Islands, Spain. Fly With Bull Rays is a project created by Silvio Solleliet-Ferreira which aims at setting the baseline and kick-starting a global population study for the species Aetomylaeus bovinus.

By developing the first intraspecific photo-identification methodology for Bull Rays, a non-invasive technique, the FWBR Project will enable to start understanding their life history and support citizen science.

The project is based on a global data-gathering process with routine free-diving surveys and widen the contact network for citizen science; this constant data gathering is expected to provide sufficient data to publish population studies able to influence local and European decision makers in the future, regarding habitats and species conservation needs.

Since 2015, Bull Rays (Aetomylaeus bovinus) have been part of the 53% of native elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean Sea which are at risk of extinction. Globaly assessed by the International Union for Conservation of nature (IUCN) in 2006, on the Red List as DD (Data Deficient), the Bull Ray population in the Mediterranean jumped, in 2016, to the CR (Critically Endangered) statute assessement. The main reason for such population decline relies on bycatch from industrial and artisanal fishing gears. Despite the critical state of this species, its population size, trends, habitat, ecology and dynamic remain unknown.

The main objective of this project is the development of the first intraspecific photo-identification methodology for bull rays. Indeed Bull rays have remarkable natural patterns on their back, which make the individual identification very easy, those patterns are bluish stripes which may remind you of the reflections of the water surface on a sandy bottom. 

Photo-identification is considered as a non-invasive method, because we do not disturb the animals, in this case we do not even touch them in the wild. A simple picture of the animals back is enough to answer major questions about the individual (Who? Sex? Maturity state?). Both invasive and non-invasive techniques have provided relevant results for individual identification, both with their advantages and limitations.

We need interns and volunteers to run snorkelling surveys and gather picutres of Bull Rays all the time, in Azores, Canary Islands, all around the Atlantic Ocean Eastern coasts, and in the Mediterranean Sea. If you would like to know more, or if you are looking for an exciting intership, please Email us at info@sharksinstitute.org or visit the website flywithbullrays.eu 

Evaluating the attitudes of common people towards sharks

The Sharks Educational Institute, together with several other environmentalists' organizations dedicated to the investigation and conservation of sharks and marine biodiversity, is collaborating in the study 'Evaluating the attitudes of common people towards sharks'.

This study is a collaborative project involving the Department of Biology of the University of Padova (Italy), iSea (Greece), MER (Cyprus), OGS (National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Italy), CHAM - Portuguese Center for Global History, FCSH/NOVA University (Portugal), A.P.C.M. (Portugal), ÇOMÜ (Turkey) ICM (Spain), NIWA (New Zealand), Planeta Océano (Peru) and BALYENA (Philipines and Japan). 

The aim of the present study is to assess the attitude of the public towards sharks and investigate differences between regions and countries. The online questionnaire, completely anonymous, is composed of three parts. The first part is constituted by some demographic and general information of the responders. The second part includes 13 statements used to measure the attitude of the responder towards sharks. The 13 statements used are based on the classic study of S.J. Kellert (1996), in which he describes the attitudinal dimensions towards wildlife. The third part aims at evaluating the knowledge of the responder towards sharks and will be used to analyze how knowledge can affect the attitude. The questionnaire will be translated in different languages with the goal to collect as many answers as possible from all over the world, from people of different educational levels, different ages (10-60+) and different backgrounds.

To participate in the survey and fill in the questionnaire click here.

Thank you for the contribution!