Friday, 1 August 2014

GEF SGP - Shark project

GIF is currently running a Global Environment Fund – Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) funded shark project to create awareness and educate the community on the importance of sharks in the Seychellois ecosystem.
Sharks occupy Seychelles territorial waters in great diversity; their aggregation and breeding grounds have been well established by the artisanal fishermen and with increased fishing technology and demands for shark products, shark fishing activities are an integrated part of Seychellois culture.  It is crucial to note that despite getting to large sizes, sharks have slow growth, mature late and have long reproduction cycles. These biological factors coupled with increased fishing efforts and technologies have led to increased concerns for the resulting stocks. 
GIF are in the process of producing a Shark ID and information guide with over 20 different species occurring in Seychelles along with training on shark ID to local fisherman, divers, and field technicians.  ID photos will be included from sharks caught in Seychelles waters showing specific ID features, maximum size, gestation period, number of pups in a litter and other ecologically important items.  This information can then be used by fishermen, fish catch monitors, environmental NGO’s and other parties involved to collect accurate data on shark fisheries in order to better understand the state of the shark population in Seychelles.
A GIF questionnaire was made up and given to fisherman and dive centres alike.  These questionnaires contained questions such as; what species of shark are most encountered, What time of year are pregnant sharks seen, How often sharks are seen, Do you believe shark populations have dropped?

UniSey student john Quilindo interviewing fishermen on La Digue

Using this information we can further our understanding of sharks, the life cycles of sharks in Seychelles and what sharks are in the area at specific time of the year. Using this data will be invaluable to GIF in completing the ID guide.  This information is also invaluable for the protection of sharks in the future as from this data, breeding and pupping grounds can be protected.  We can also determine what the local Seychellois who are constantly in contact with sharks, thoughts are towards them and hopefully in the end, educate them about the ecology and importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem of Seychelles.  This way together we can determine a sustainable and fair way to fish so that everyone gets to enjoy these majestic animals for many more years to come in whatever manner that may be.

Fisherman explains that the drop in price of shark fins affects him and a lot of his fellow fishermen

1 comment:

  1. This is a great project - how was the outcome? where can I get a copy of the information guide?