Southern Mozambique (SWIO) is a hotspot for shark and ray biodiversity, yet some of these species are threatened with extinction, or classified as data deficient (meaning there is insufficient data to assess their conservation status). A project has therefore been initiated through funding provided by the Shark Conservation Fund to contribute to improving the conservation status of threatened shark and ray species in Mozambique, through a combination of policy and on-the-ground conservation initiatives in priority locations.
Since 2018, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Mozambique, in partnership with the National Institute for Fisheries Research (IIP), has conducted 9 studies using baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVs) to assess coastal shark populations, estimate abundance, identify species that occur in the region and identify "hotspots" of shark abundance and diversity.
As part of these studies, marine scientists from WCS and IIP confirmed that Southern Africa's most threatened endemic shark, the critically endangered shorttail nurse shark (Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum), occurs in Mozambique; this finding represents a range extension of over 2,000 kilometres.
At the same time, WCS and IIP also initiated sampling at artisanal fisheries landing sites focusing on shark and ray catches in 5 provinces of the country, introducing innovations in data collection using mobile phone applications to record catches of sharks and rays down to species level.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between WCS and the Mozambican Ministry of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries (MIMAIP), WCS is also supporting the development of the National Plan of Action for shark and ray conservation and management in Mozambique. The Action Plan, as well as Non-Detrimental Findings for 2 shark species (silky sharks Carcharhinus falciformis and scalloped hammerhead sharks Sphyrna lewini) are under development and in the final stages of approval by the Government of Mozambique.
This project will contribute to the overall improvement of shark and ray conservation and management in Mozambique.
This project was funded by the Shark Conservation Fund, a philanthropic collaborative pooling expertise and resources to meet the threats facing the world’s sharks and rays. The Shark Conservation Fund is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Shark Fund Conservation