Project Leader

Titus Cañete

Titus Cañete

Who I am

Having grown up far from the ocean and had little experience of swimming, I was always told to avoid deep water and developed a fear of what might lurk in the depths. It was only when my uncle introduced me to the world of diving that my fear transformed into curiosity and eventually into passion. After graduating from university with a degree in biology, I pursued a career in marine conservation and have been able to work and volunteer with many government and non-government organisations and agencies, all focusing on the conservation of the ocean’s inhabitants. My first experience of shark conservation was with the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines, where I was given the chance to lead the Palawan whale shark research and conservation project in 2019. Since then I have been diving deeper into shark conservation (both figuratively and literally) and am currently working as the project lead of the organisation’s deep-sea shark research and conservation in the Philippines.

Where I work

My current affiliation, the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines, focuses on the conservation of marine megafauna and their habitats in the Philippines. We work to create a secure and prosperous ocean for both marine life and people by providing governments, communities and the next generation with research-based solutions and motivating them to sustainably manage marine megafauna and their habitats in South-East Asia. This project will focus on the island of Cagayancillo, located in the middle of the Sulu Sea and the closest settlement to the Tubbataha Reef National Park, a World Heritage Site. Certain communities on the island are known to participate in deep-sea shark fisheries and the importance of this activity is so profound that the dogfish shark has been included on Cagayancillo’s administrative logo. By assessing the local deep-sea shark fisheries, we will gain a better understanding of the diversity and ecology of deep-sea sharks in the region and will be able to incorporate that knowledge to develop effective strategies for their conservation.

What I do

With little knowledge of the impact of deep-sea shark fisheries around Cagayancillo, the project will provide information about the deep-sea sharks in the area and novel insights into whether or not fishing could be done in a sustainable manner. It will also identify barriers to a shift towards sustainability. Baseline information regarding the fisheries will be gathered by conducting interview surveys in the community and assessing the deep-sea fisheries during the peak season by means of onboard observation, descriptions of the landed sharks and the collection of samples.

Using the information gathered, we will engage with the local community through a series of workshops to increase its awareness of the importance of deep-sea sharks to its welfare and the conservation of these species, and we will discuss initiatives that can be taken in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of deep-sea fisheries.

My project

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