Caring for Cameroon’s sharks and rays

  • Rays & Skates
  • Sharks
Years funded
  • 2024
  • Active
Project type
  • Conservation

Ghofrane knows that Cameroon’s small-scale fisheries present a conservation conundrum: they account for many threatened sharks and rays in their daily haul, but there is no effective, enforced management plan for them. Her intention is to improve conservation for the most landed and the most threatened species caught on Cameroon’s southern coast. To do so, she will be documenting catches and conducting socio-economic surveys in fishing communities. Ghofrane will also aim to increase the knowledge-base available to local government and fishers and to involve them in the conservation of sharks and rays through science engagement.

Caring for Cameroon’s sharks and rays

Ghofrane Labyedh

Project leader
About the project leader

I am an ocean conservationist and a marine biologist with a Master’s degree in marine ecology and conservation. I spent more than eight years studying marine wildlife and conservation from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, which has given me a solid foundation in knowing how to integrate research, conservation and project management. For the past four years I have been working for the African Marine Mammal Conservation Organisation (AMMCO), collecting and analysing data on the small-scale elasmobranch fishery along the coast of Cameroon. Recently I was appointed to lead the Shark and Ray Programme in...

Project details

Improving conservation of threatened sharks and rays along the southern coast of Cameroon

Key objective

This project aims to improve the conservation of the most threatened and landed elasmobranch species in small-scale fisheries on Cameroon’s southern coast through research, increasing capacity and engaging fishers in our work.

Why is this important

Many threatened elasmobranch species are still landed by small-scale fisheries in Cameroon, where there is no effective fisheries management in place and there are no area-based conservation measures for elasmobranchs. This project aims to improve the conservation of not only the most landed, but also the most threatened elasmobranch species along Cameroon’s south coast, as we will involve both the fishing community and the government in our conservation plan.


Addressing the status of endangered elasmobranch species requires identifying fisheries’ characteristics and landing trends and understanding the socio-economic context, as all these elements are essential when devising effective management strategies. In Cameroon, this information has been lacking, which led AMMCO to develop a programme to address these gaps in knowledge, policy and the implementation of management decisions.

Since 2015 AMMCO has been working to conserve marine wildlife in Cameroon, including sharks and rays, through the initiative of the SIREN citizen science project. Volunteer fishers use the SIREN mobile app to document their sightings and landings of marine megafauna along the coast. AMMCO also developed a Shark and Ray Programme that has been conducting surveys of fish markets and studies of socio-economic conditions since 2018. The data gathered have shown that at least 40 elasmobranch species are landed in Cameroon’s small-scale fisheries, including 34 species that are red-listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. Of most concern are the scalloped hammerhead shark and the blackchin guitarfish, both of which are Critically Endangered and among the most landed species in Cameroon. So far, most of the research efforts have focused on the northern and central coast of Cameroon, but preliminary studies suggest that important landings of threatened elasmobranchs also occur along the southern coast.

The project aims to improve the conservation of the most threatened and landed elasmobranch species in small-scale fisheries on Cameroon’s southern coast through research, capacity building and engagement between researchers and fishers. This will be achieved in partnership with government stakeholders, fishers and the fishing community, and with local citizens. The data collected will be used to develop effective management and conservation plans for the territorial waters of Cameroon and West Africa.

Aims & objectives
  • To document elasmobranch catches and undertake socio-economic surveys in fishing communities; to assess the composition, landing trends and utilisation of shark and ray species in Kribi; and to identify strategic priorities and key approaches for improving their conservation, focusing on fisheries management and participative approaches.
  • To improve the knowledge of the local government, fishing communities and fishers about threats to elasmobranchs by training local people to raise awareness, as there is an urgent need for the general public to know more about the threats facing these species. By means of direct communication we aim to create an educational bridge between the project and the people of Cameroon.
  • To engage fishers in the conservation of sharks and rays in Cameroon by encouraging them to get involved in our work. Releasing the most threatened species alive and collecting data for us will potentially contribute to the long-term conservation of endangered species affected by Cameroon’s small-scale fisheries.