Fin Fighters shark investigation and citizen shark science program

Fin Fighters
Published: August 2016
Last edited: March 2019
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Summary

Fin Fighters is working with researchers and volunteers to collect information and genetic data from Moroccan fishing ports and markets. Results inform research on the impacts of shark and ray fishing and provide input for studies on populations and genetic health. In addition they are the basis for advisory management reports and educational programs. This is part of the larger Fin Fighters Citizen Shark Science program – a solution based approach to shark and ray conservation.

Classifications

Region
North Africa
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Deep sea
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Seamount / Ocean ridge
Theme
Fisheries and aquaculture
Protected area governance
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor governance and participation

Location

Morocco

Challenges

- Elasmobranch species are heavily targeted by Moroccan & EU fishing fleetsLittle scientific data or landing data; population numbers are not understood. - Unclear legislation with EU fisheries law resulting in low enforcement, making it a hot spot for shark finning/IUU fishing. - Lack of understanding in artisanal fishing fleets of laws & restrictions. - Little scientific studies due to lack of funding & incentives

Beneficiaries

- Scientists receive data and information - Volunteers gain specific skills - The fishing communities are included in education programs and receive training thus gaining a better understanding of existing fishing policies

Impacts

Over the last 3 years the Fin Fighters team has been able to establish links and successful collaborations with scientific institutions and individuals in need of data from either this region or specific species. Through this investigation Fin Fighters have also been able to generate new studies - such as the Morocco genetic baseline project. We have already begun establishing reports for presentation to Moroccan officials and aim to work with the fishermen and these officials to negotiate policy and scale up our educational program on a national level. By establishing links with fishermen we have begun to involve them in collecting data and constructing educational programs. Many of these fishermen are now participating by providing continual information on their larger or more unusual catches via emails and photographs throughout the year. Overall this program opens up dialogues between fishermen, conservationists and scientific communities and allows for understanding and solutions to be constructed for mutual benefit.

Contributed by

Lou Ruddell Fin Fighters

Other contributors

Fin Fighters