Sunday, 6 September 2015

Conservation News

The GEF-SGP Shark Project: Specimens Donated to Natural History Museum

According to the National Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks, the shark population of Seychelles has dramatically declined over the years. It was thus fitting that the Natural  History Museum of Seychelles was presented with a collection of 17 shark species last Friday at a  ceremony that also marked the end of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) shark project. 

The GEF-SGP shark project, in association with the Green Islands Foundation, Save Our Seas Foundation, and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), was launched to promote a better understanding of these marine predators through the collection of data and via shark awareness programmes to sensitize the population about the myriad benefits sharks bring to marine eco-systems. In his opening speech, the Minister of Environment, Didier Dogley, stated that the shark  attacks of 2009, which claimed the lives of two tourists, raised the need to scale up research  into their behavior in order to have better understand what caused the attacks which were so unusual  for Seychelles. 
Although Minister Dogley recognized the good work achieved by the project, he  observed that a closer coordination with local fishermen would have been very useful to try in terms  of enhancing the team’s data harvesting. 

The general manager of the Green Islands Foundation, Arjan de Groene, stated that the project looked at a sustainable way of fishing for sharks in order to avoid overfishing and will allow stocks to replenish themselves. Mr de Groene also stated that sharks are a  vital part of our economy as many tourists pay to see them in their natural environment. Mr de  Groene was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the director of the National Museum,  Cecille Kalebi, for his hard work and dedication in the project and also for contributing the shark  collection. 

For his part, the CEO of the SFA, Vincent Lucas was presented a book with the names of  the different shark species in Seychelles. Mr Lucas said that, “the SFA needed to know the exact  names of the different species of sharks, because we lacked data about the exact names, or the  different names the local fishermen give the sharks, and through this we have a better understanding  of the sharks, along with a collection of useful data to appropriately identify our sharks.” The shark  collection contains a total of 17 species of sharks preserved in glass containers and is open to the  public at the National History Museum in Victoria. 

The museum is open from 8.30am to 4.30 pm  from Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to noon on Fridays. The museum is also open from 09am to  1pm on Saturdays. 

Article Source: Green Island's Foundation via Today in Seychelles Newspaper.