DCNA and Partners to Conduct Research into Shark Populations

DCNA’s Shark Tagging Expedition in 2016 (photo credit: Duncan Brake, DCNA)

Kralendijk – The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), through the support of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature- Netherlands (WWF-NL), will be investigating the lifecycle and abundance of large migratory sharks in the North Eastern Caribbean. Together with DCNA’s Network Organizations the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) and in collaboration with international conservation organization Beneath the Waves (BTW), researchers will research the lifecycle of predominantly large predatory and highly migratory species.

With the generous support of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF-NL) we will be using scientific methods to investigate the number and life-stages of highly migratory sharks in the North Eastern Caribbean region, with specific focus on Tiger Sharks.” commented DCNA Director Tadzio Bervoets.

Recently, the North Eastern Caribbean Region has experienced two negative shark-human interactions which has caused many on various islands, including several governments, to theorize that there is an increase in the shark population of the Caribbean and that certain geographical events, such as an increase in volcanic activity, has caused this increase. “There is absolutely no data to suggest that there is an increase in the shark population of the Eastern Caribbean. However, in order to have an idea of any potential changes there has to be a scientific assessment conducted to investigate if there are any changes. That is why we are excited to work with WWF-NL and BTW in doing this research. We aim to place satellite trackers on various animals and also establish if any of the animals are at mating stages or giving birth.” commented Bervoets.

The first assessment will be conducted in April with a subsequent expedition planned in July. “Hopefully with this data we are able to give recommendations both for the benefit of the residents of the islands and for the conservation of a species which faces the imminent threat of extinction.” concluded Bervoets.

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