Ocean News

SOSF announces new project leaders

29th June 2020

Nearly 30 new conservation projects added to Save Our Seas Foundation’s current roster

Since 2003, the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) has been dedicated to protecting life in our oceans, especially sharks and rays. To do this, the organisation invests in research, conservation and education projects led by passionate and innovative researchers from around the globe. This year, the SOSF has expanded its current roster of ongoing projects by nearly 30 through recent grant allocations.

The work of grant recipients focuses primarily on charismatic, but threatened wildlife species and their habitats, with a particular concern for marine chondrichthyans (sharks, rays, skates, sawfishes and chimaeras). As part of the SOSF’s global strategy, many of the new projects chosen for 2020 support the recovery of endangered sawfishes, wedgefishes and guitarfishes.

‘Sharks and rays are essential for the health and well-being of our oceans, helping to maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem,’

explains the Founder of the SOSF, His Excellency Abdulmohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh. ‘If we lose them, it could have significant unforeseen consequences, including the collapse of certain fisheries and the loss of essential marine habitats. The SOSF will continue to help ensure the sustainable future of sharks and rays by investing in projects that will raise awareness, increase knowledge, conserve declining populations and communicate the importance of this exceptional class of fish.’

In the Small Grants category, 20 new projects have received funding. Aimed at original and innovative start-up projects, these grants have been awarded to early-career scientists, conservationists and educators working on short, specific and finite projects (some are a small component of a larger endeavour). In the more robust Keystone Grants category, seven new projects that will run for up to three years.

From collecting environmental DNA (eDNA) samples from Colombia’s estuaries and mangroves in order to uncover the presence and distribution of largetooth sawfishes to developing a species-specific management plan that will protect endangered guitarfishes in Sri Lanka and satellite-tracking sharks on the high seas to gain a better understanding of their movement patterns, the projects chosen represent a global effort to protect charismatic marine biodiversity. Some of the key issues that projects aim to tackle include fisheries mismanagement and by-catch, population monitoring, genetics and the effects of marine pollution on wildlife.

The projects chosen and their leaders will become part of the strong marine conservation legacy the SOSF is known for. Since its inception, the organisation has funded more than 300 projects in over 60 countries. This work has generated valuable information about more than 110 species. To learn more and track project news, visit the SOSF projects section and follow the SOSF on social media.