Research into shark populations in the North Eastern Caribbean starting in springBeneath the Waves, Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), Nature Foundation St Maarten, Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), STENAPA, World Wide Fund for Nature
Recently, the North Eastern Caribbean Region has experienced two negative shark-human interactions which has caused many speculations 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, have 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 Beneath The Waves 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 DCNA's Director Tadzio Bervoets.
“With the generous support of the 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. 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.
This study will be done together with the Saba Conservation Foundation, Nature Foundation St Maarten, STENAPA St Eustatius and Beneath the Waves to give recommendations both for the benefit of the residents and for the conservation of threated sharks.
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Text: Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance
Photos: Duncan Brake, DCNA (lead photo: DCNA’s Shark Tagging Expedition in 2016)