Beneath the Waves and shark conservation in The Bahamas

Shark, the Bahamas. Image: Mark Yokoyama

Marine biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez writes about shark conservation organisation Beneath the Waves and the research they are doing in The Bahamas. According to Dr. Austin Gallagher, the organisation’s Chief Scientist, “There are few places worldwide that are as important to sharks than the Bahamas.”

In 2018, Beneath the Waves launched one of the first long-term studies focused on understanding the benefits of sanctuaries to sharks, focusing on using the Bahamas shark sanctuary as a model. Beneath the Waves is evaluating the movements of various species of sharks in the Bahamas by tagging sharks with internal acoustic transmitters and monitoring their habitat use throughout the year with fixed receiver stations. They are focusing primarily on Caribbean reef sharks, due to their abundance, economic importance, and similarities to reef sharks in other parts of the world. Other species they will be tagging include nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum), tigers (Galeocerdo cuvier), bulls (Carcharhinus leucas), and hammerheads (Sphyrna species).

Pulling off a study like this requires extensive collaboration—and Beneath the Waves has forged partnerships with nearly a dozen organizations, and is taking an entrepreneurial approach to science and conservation. This research has potentially far-reaching implications for island nations interested in designing marine protected areas and improving on existing shark conservation policies.

Read more in the full Forbes article: Beneath The Waves: A Game-Changer To Shark Science In The Caribbean.

[Image: Mark Yokoyama]

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