Citra is delving into the intricacies of how the small-scale shark fishery operates in Batuwingkung Village, Indonesia. As one of the world’s largest shark-fishing nations, Indonesia faces serious shark and ray conservation challenges. Citra will evaluate the vulnerability of targeted shark species and look to designing a sustainable management plan where local communities are particularly dependent on shark fisheries in the Batuwingkung Village. For this to work as a larger-scale vision, Citra will help to develop conservation efforts and sustainable fishery management throughout the Sangihe Islands.
I have loved doing research since high school. I won a silver medal in the Indonesian National Research Olympiad in 2013 before continuing my studies as an undergraduate in biology at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. While there I joined the Marine Study Club and we conducted a lot of small research projects. My desire to be a marine biologist grew when I led a research expedition in Wakatobi National Park, in the province of South-east Sulawesi. I will never forget when I learned how to swim and dive! In 2018, I got an opportunity to do a...
This project contributes to understanding the complexity of socio-economic and ecological data on small-scale shark fisheries, which is important for better integration of fisheries and trade management. The objective is to enhance community participation in efforts to conserve and sustainably manage shark species.
The localised pressure of fishing and trade in sharks is pushing stocks close to the critical limit. Shark stocks worldwide have declined, yet they support millions of livelihoods. Sharks add to regional economies through artisanal, commercial and industrial fishing and international trade in the fins, meat and skin. These species are a component of a complex socio-economic challenge that we need to explore fully to understand and be able to resolve it.
Indonesia has one of the largest shark fisheries in the world, having landed more than 1.2 million tons between 2009 and 2019, and it is a fishery that is closely connected to many coastal communities. A relatively low export volume suggests that much of the catch is consumed domestically by these communities. Moreover, a diverse and unregulated small-scale fishery, a high incidence of illegal fishing and unsystematic data collection make the management and conservation of elasmobranch species in Indonesia very challenging. In the Sangihe Islands in northern North Sulawesi province, we found that local communities, and Batuwingkung village in particular, are highly dependent on the shark fishery. The most commonly caught species are silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis and blacktip shark C. limbatus, which are recorded as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The silky shark is also listed on CITES Appendix II, which restricts international trade in the species but allows domestic use. These two species are also recorded as the dominant catch in other areas, such as East Lombok, Namosain (East Nusa Tenggara) and Indo-Pacific waters. Because of the close connection between community and fishery, it is important to tap into local knowledge to improve the quality and quantity of data on the species’ distribution, life histories and vulnerabilities and threats they face, as well as information about the shark fishery, so that evidence-based management can be achieved..
Outside the USA, The Bahamas is the only place where Critically Endangered smalltooth sawfish can reliably be found. Tristan wants to ensure that protection measures in The Bahamas are understood and enforced as far as sawfish are concerned to close the current gap between policy and the people. He’ll be using aerial surveys, sonar and BRUVs, combined with interviews that draw on local knowledge, to identify essential sawfish habitats that need protection. Engaging with the community through workshops and by training students and meeting with government, Tristan intends to advocate for smalltooth sawfish protection throughout The Bahamas’ territorial waters.
Steven and Kevin are using genetic techniques to understand how Caribbean reef shark populations are connected across the extent of their range. Populations of this Endangered shark are in decline generally, but where they are managed and there is effective protection, their numbers are stable. With the integration of the correct information, Steven and Kevin are convinced that we can give Caribbean reef sharks a better shot at recovery and population stabilisation. They will also explore any barriers to connectivity, looking to the future recruitment and recovery of these sharks.
With very little information available about Endangered sicklefin devil rays, their seasonal aggregations at sea mounts in the Azores give Sophie an opportunity to learn more about their lives. She will be collecting satellite-tracking data that show how they move in the Azores’ exclusive economic zone. The information she collects will be used to develop maps of how the rays are using the zone and to identify essential areas that multiple species use. With this information at hand, Sophie hopes her work can contribute to a network of marine protected areas.