Thursday, 30 July 2015

Shark Identification training

Mr. Nevill explaining what to look for when identifying sharks
On Monday 27th July we hosted a workshop presenting the Green Islands Foundation's (GIF) shark identification guide together with a basic training on how to identify sharks and provide training in standardized shark monitoring methodology. The workshop took place at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) for participants from SFA itself and various other environmental organizations.

GIF general manager presenting the guide
The GIF shark ID guide illustrates the main differences between sharks caught in the Seychelles artisanal fishery and is hoped to become the standard reference for SFA technicians and fishers alike. GIF general manager Arjan De Groene presented how the shark ID guide was made and how to use it. Local shark expert, John Nevill, the main contributor to the guide, explained which data to gather when doing shark catch monitoring. Mr. Nevill went through each of the 22 species and explained their main characteristics, focusing on the similar species and how to differentiate between them.

Mr. Nevill explaining how to gather data about sharks
The participants then moved to the lab to see actual sharks. We collected 14 different species over the course of 1 and a half years. With the use of the guide, they tried to identify the sharks themselves. This was a good exercise for the participants to see for themselves how difficult shark identification can be.

The creation of a shark identification guide is part of the capacity building component of the GEF SGP shark project implemented by GIF. The guide was partly funded by SFA and the Fishermen and Boat Owner's Association (FBOA).

Participants testing out the guide on the specimens
With this shark identification guide GIF hopes to increase the ability of the local community to differentiate between shark species in order to contribute to shark research and data gathering. It is also a tool for fishers, SFA and others to standardize monitoring. All of this contributes to properly assess the shark stock in Seychelles waters required to put in place effective management strategies aimed at making shark fishing in Seychelles sustainable. 

The creation of the guide was made possible by the overwhelming support from fishers, fishing associations, SFA officials and various other organizations. We hope this project solidifies and promotes collaboration and discussions with different stakeholders. GIF would like to thank everyone who contributed and assisted with the creation of the shark identification guide of the Seychelles' artisanal fishery.

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