In 2003, the Save Our Seas Foundation was founded, built on a shared passion for sharks and rays and a willingness to support the bright, brilliant minds working to save them. From those first seeds we have funded more than 480 projects in 91 countries – and the foundation has blossomed into a global community. Over the past 20 years we have been fortunate to work with world-leading scientists, conservationists and educators who have dedicated their lives to the understanding and protection of sharks and rays worldwide.
20 Years of the Save Our Seas Foundation is a celebration of that journey and community. In the film, project leaders speak about their vital work, their achievements thus far and what the support of the Save Our Seas Foundation has meant to them.
Sharks and rays are one of the most threatened group of animals on the planet, yet there are still major gaps in our knowledge of them. We need sound science to fill those gaps. Scientific research has already revealed the extent of the threats sharks and rays face and how close we are to losing them completely. We now need science to tell us how we might save them by providing insight into their biology, ecology, movements and behaviour and helping to inform future strategies for the management and conservation of these species at risk.
The past two decades have already seen huge steps in the right direction: the assessments of almost all known species of shark for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; the addition of sharks and rays to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and the CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species) Sharks MOU; and countless scientific discoveries. We owe these achievements to the tireless work of scientists and conservationists around the world, and it is through their continued dedication and determination that we will see the tide turn for sharks and rays.
The Save Our Seas Foundation is proud of the role we have played, and will continue to play, in this endeavour. An important part of this is our commitment to funding early career researchers through our small grants. Getting a foot on the scientific ladder can be difficult and finding that first pot of funding can be a barrier to many who are trying to break into the field. But fresh perspectives and new ideas are needed to tackle the complex challenges ahead of us. Our small grants help scientists and conservationists at the very beginning of their journey to realise their potential and they pave the way for bright futures ahead.
20 Years of the Save Our Seas Foundation shows the diversity of projects that we have funded and the resulting passionate and driven community that has developed – a community of hundreds of innovative change-makers, from different backgrounds, disciplines and expertise, uniting to achieve a common goal: a future where sharks and rays thrive.