Wednesday 28 November marked the fourth and final in the series of Marine Conservation Speaker events held at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre during the month of November. Meaghen McCord and Tamzyn Zweig of the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) in Hermanus presented the finale talks at the Shark Centre in Kalk Bay.
Meaghen McCord is the Founder and Managing Director of SASC and is also a Save Our Seas Foundation funded researcher. Meaghen has over 15 years of experience working on various aspects of shark biology, ecology and conservation. Meaghen’s talk focused on Bull Sharks and explored whether there is a need to conserve and protect this species in southern Africa. Meaghen has been researching the newly found habitat usage of the Bull (Zambezi) Shark in the southern Cape region of South Africa and has also recently initiated a regional Bull Shark research and conservation strategy in collaboration with other marine research institutes and organisations. Meaghen’s research aims to address newfound gaps in the scientific knowledge, to inform and develop a species‐specific management strategy for Zambezi Sharks in South Africa.
Tamzyn Zweig is the Programmes Manager at SASC and is also a Save Our Seas Foundation funded researcher. As recreational angling for sharks (elasmobranchs) in South Africa is growing in popularity, Tamzyn’s research aims to provide an up-to-date quantification of organised recreational elasmobranch fishing in the country. Specifically, Tamzyn aims to quantify the socio-economic value of the fishery; knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of recreational elasmobranch fishers; catch per unit effort fluctuations and changes in species composition over time; and species-specific metabolic and physiological responses to angling stressors. The ultimate aims of this research project are to relay research findings to fishery managers at South African Department of Fisheries and Forestry as well as give recreational shark anglers species-specific gear and handling recommendations to lessen the impacts their sport has on elasmobranch populations in South Africa. Tamzyn’s talk discussed this important research and how best to combine sport, conservation and science, with a specific focus on catch and release angling.
Many thanks to all the marine researchers and experts who presented talks at the November Marine Conservation Speaker Series and for sharing their knowledge and passion for sharks and conservation with the audience.