Toward conservation of coastal sharks in the French West Indies

Oceane Beaufort
Publié: 12 avril 2021
Dernière modification: 09 novembre 2021
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The French West Indies have a rich but fragile diversity of sharks and rays. With more than 50 species identified in the territorial waters, more than 30% are on the Red List of endangered species and 30%, near threatened, are likely to join this list soon.


The main goal of this project is to promote the implementation of management measures adapted to local populations of sharks and rays and to the local context of the French West Indies. In other words, to conciliate the protection of sharks and the use of the sea by humans.


For this, complementary methods are used for identify i) the species present in the coastal waters; ii)  the coastal areas frequented by these species; iii) the main threats to these species in the identified areas. Including aerial survey and participatory sciences. 


Scale of implementation
Herbiers marins
Récif corallien
Récif rocailleux / Rive rocailleux
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Braconnage et la criminalité environnementale
Fragmentation et la dégradtion de l'habitat
Gestion des espèces
L'intégration de la biodiversité
Science et recherche
Sensibilisation et communications
Utilisations conflictuelles / impacts cumulatifs
Perte de l'écosystème
Pollution (y compris eutrophisation et déchets)
Récolte non durable, y compris la surpêche
Gestion inefficace des ressources financières
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Mauvaise surveillance et application de la loi
Sustainable development goals
ODD 12 - Consommation et production responsables
Aichi targets
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 4: Production et consommation durables
Objectif 5: Perte d'habitat réduite de moitié ou diminuée
Objectif 6: Gestion durable des ressources vivantes aquatiques
Objectif 8: Pollution réduite
Objectif 10: Ecosystèmes vulnérables au changement climatique
Objectif 11: Aires protégées et conservées
Objectif 12: Réduction du risque d'extinction
Objectif 13: Sauvegarde de la diversité génétique
Objectif 14: Services des écosystèmes
Objectif 17: Stratégies de la biodiversité et des plans d'action
Objectif 19: Partage de l'information et de la connaissance


Guadeloupe | Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Martin


  • Working on animals that frighten the population.
  • Inform the public that there are baby sharks on the beaches where they swim and they need need to be protected.
  • Regulations for the professional use of drones are restrictive.
  • Restrictive weather conditions (wind too strong to use the drone).
  • Low awareness of the general public on the species and its conservation.


  • Parc National de Guadeloupe.
  • Réserves Naturelles de la Désirade.
  • Parc Naturel Marin de Martinique.
  • Réserve Naturelle de St. Martin.

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

The French West Indies are home to several coastal shark nurseries. These areas are essential for the survival of these species. Unfortunately, the coastal zone is the area most impacted in our islands, in particular by pollution and nautical activities (such as fishing). The French West Indies have a role in the conservation of these species. It is important to act today.


To protect, it is necessary to know, in order to adapt the conservation measures and to propose the most effective actions. But conservation measures (such as fishing regulations) will be useless if the public is not engaged in this cause. We need to protect, learn and share.


The positive impacts of this project follow the baseline of Kap Natirel : "To protect, to learn, to share".


To protect:

This project allowed us to identify the shark and ray species which frequent the shallow coastal waters of the French West Indies. The initiative developed distribution maps and identified the main threats to shark and ray nursery areas, information that will be useful for the managers of beneficiary sites.


The data collected made it possible to support the recommendations in favor of prohibitiing shark and ray fishing for recreational purposes.


To learn:

This projet allowed the implementation of a long-terme monitoring of coastal nurseries in the French West Indies in order to evaluate population state in the time. Including a training for a monitoring team and the acquirement of necessary equipment (including a drone).  


To share:

This project also allowed to create the first exhibition to inform and raise awareness for various public over the next few years and throughout the French West Antilles.


Kap Natirel (Karaib Associasion pou Pwoteksion a la Nati) is a small NGO based on the Guadeloupean Archipelago. In charge of the Sharks Network of the French West Indies (Reguar), it carries out several actions in favor of shark conservation.


Their main goal is to promote the implementation of management measures adapted to local populations of sharks and rays and to the local context of the French West Indies. In other words, to conciliate the protection of sharks and the use of the sea by humans.


With the support of the European Union's the BEST 2.0 program, Kap Natirel is working on a specific project for shallow waters, a big challenge because it's where most of the interaction between sharks and human activities occurs.


Discover this project with the Kap Natirel baseline «Protéger, apprendre, partager» (to protect, to learn, to share).

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