Rab studies mantas and mobulas along Pakistan’s poorly researched coastline where these rays – along with countless other marine animals – are unintentionally killed by gill nets. He hopes that his research will convince the government to ban this destructive fishing method.
The project aims to conduct a study on the occurrence, distribution, abundance, mortality rate and biology of mobulids found in Pakistani waters. It also endeavors to develop a strategy for protection of these species and to create awareness among the public through media.
Mobulids play an important – but not yet well understood – role in the epipelagic ecosystem. They also have some of the lowest reproductive rates among elasmobranchs, making them very vulnerable to overfishing.
Mobulids are a group of marine animals that are generally ignored because of their limited commercial importance. However, these animals play an important role in the epipelagic ecosystem, which needs to be properly studied. It is also known that the mobulids have some of the lowest reproductive rates among elasmobranchs, making them more susceptible to overfishing at a faster rate than other reproductively prolific species.
The project is unique because it will help in generating much needed information about the seasonal abundance, distribution, stock assessment, feeding habit and reproduction of mobulids for the first time in the northern Arabian Sea. Considering their high by-catch mortality and limited reproductive capacity, there is a dire need to take necessary measures for the protection of mobulids. The proposed project intends to collect this information to develop a programme for conservation of mobulids in Pakistan. WWF-Pakistan has been involved in conservation and protection of marine animals for quite some time. In the recent past, it has concentrated its efforts on protection of marine animals brutally affected by uncontrolled fishing operations in Pakistan. Devastation caused by high levels of by-catch has affected sharks, cetaceans, turtles and mobulid species. Therefore, considering the lack of information about mobulids and their high mortality in gillnet fishing, it is vital to initiate a study on their status, distribution, abundance, stock assessment, reproduction and other aspects. Awareness about the significance and protection of mobulids would also be created among fishing communities and relevant stakeholders.
To find out which shark species occur in Puerto Rican waters, Glorimar is using genetics and getting samples from fish markets. She also relies on the assistance of local fishers. Filling this fundamental knowledge gap will help to assess local consumption of sharks and build up the community’s understanding of how sharks function in the marine ecosystem.
Shark fishing is becoming increasingly important in St Vincent, but little is known about the shark populations there. Catherine is figuring out which sharks live there and how they are utilised by local communities. She’s working with fishermen to achieve sustainable management of these fisheries.
At the northern extent of the hugely productive waters of the Benguela Ecosystem, Angola’s rich waters support a huge artisanal fishing fleet. Ana is unlocking information about sharks and rays in the region, building the baseline for managing and protecting these species in West African waters.