We are just about to complete our first IUCN Conservation Strategy for Sawfishes and with the recent flurry of activity on Mantas (updated IUCN Red Listings and CITES listings) the IUCN Shark Specialist Group really wants to help ensure that some of the momentum and capacity that has been built-up for Mantas can be used to move forward wider mobulid conservation too! So how can you help?
IUCN has been using their Specialist Groups to develop Conservation Action plans for a couple of decades now and they have just reviewed and revised the process. The core guiding principal is that plans are nothing and that the process of planning is everything. What this means is that writing dust-gathering reports has not been hugely effective, but instead connecting people, sharing knowledge and building capacity is the new focus of planning. IUCN Specialist Groups vary considerably, but a key role of IUCN is in convening groups of people to understand conservation status and to plan conservation success.
We have been stunned at how much progress we have made with building sawfish capacity and we are very keen to work to develop an IUCN Global Manta and Devil Ray Conservation Strategy. This process is not intended to supplant the efforts of any other individual or group. Our role is to provide a suitable environment and framework within a broad group of people and organizations so that they can identify the actions they will take forward to conserve mobulids.
Call for Collaborators
At this early stage we are looking to invite interested parties to get in touch with us. Cooperation between conservation groups and integration of existing efforts is essential to the success of this project.
In the coming year we will be carrying out the following activities:
1. Fundraise for a Global Conservation Strategy Workshop to be held around the Sharks International Conference in Durban in 2014
2. Develop and maintain a Network (supported through newsletters and webspace)
3. Leverage funds to ensure the financial sustainability of the Conservation Strategy
4. Collate any additional relevant information on their biology, ecology and trade
Please join the Manta and Devil Ray Network here and receive regular updates on the development of the Conservation Strategy and how you can be involved.