Belize Shark Conservation Research

Principal Investigators: Demian D. Chapman (Ph.D.) and Ellen K. Pikitch (Ph.D.) (Institute for Ocean Conservation Science & School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY.) Elizabeth Babcock (Ph.D.). (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL.)

Summary: The Glover’s Reef atoll shark survey has been conducted for thirteen consecutive years using longline fishing and for four continuous years using unobtrusive baited remote underwater video (BRUV) techniques, providing the longest continuous time series of shark abundance anywhere in the Caribbean.  The purpose of the project is to obtain scientific information to improve shark conservation on the Belize Barrier Reef and associated regions.  Progress is being made towards this goal by assessing regional elasmobranch biodiversity, locating critical habitats (e.g. breeding grounds) and monitoring population trends.  Modern electronic tracking and genetic techniques are also being used to determine how best to design Marine Protected Area’s (MPA’s) to better protect reef shark assemblages in Belize and the broader Caribbean region.