This year was my first opportunity to attend the European Elasmobranch Association meeting, and in fact the first ever conference I’ve been able to attend focusing on sharks, rays and skates exclusively.
Conferences such as the EEA help busy researchers and managers to hear about recent research and connect with those with similar interests effectively. Conferences can help to inspire your research and conservation work, think about new questions you should be asking, and who you should be asking them with. It’s also a great opportunity to take some time to reconnect with the science that you are passionate about, as finding the time to indulge your interests can be difficult when working in a busy NGO environment.
I presented the results of six years of community-based monitoring of the traditional (non-motorised) shark fishery in SW Madagascar. The study has focused on not only trying to get a better idea of the status and importance of the shark fishery in this region, but to also explore how to engage the local community in the monitoring of such a fishery. The research methods employed also provided a practical and cost-effective means to gather data across a remote region and fishery. Despite there only being a small group of researchers working with similar communities or in the tropics, the presentation was well received, and of particular interest was to see how issues faced in Madagascar are similar to those in Chile, Fiji and Guinea-Bissau.
I would like to thank SOSF and the Shark Trust for assisting with my attendance at the conference.