The Shark and Ray Recovery Initiative (SARRI) is the latest response to save sharks and rays from extinction.
SARRI is a partnership of leading shark and ray conservation experts from WWF, Elasmo Project, JCU, and WCS. The Initiative will aim to recover some of the most threatened sharks and rays in their last remaining hotspots around the world.
Working closely with coastal communities, local partners, and experts, we will introduce comprehensive recovery plans, which will include securing “shark recovery zones” to protect critical habitats of the most threatened species. These will be enhanced by other management measures tailored for each location and species, such as methods to reduce bycatch (“bycatch mitigation measures”) in the surrounding areas.
By testing and constantly improving our approach in the field, we will create a blueprint for recovering endangered sharks and rays where support is needed most.
To have an impact on a global scale, SARRI has been designed to trigger a much broader, organic wave of recovery efforts. This will be fostered through open access to our know-how, recovery tools, as well as free training. Sharing success stories to inspire and challenges to learn from, SARRI will help spark further action.
Coastal communities who live near future recovery zones will be part of the recovery mission every step of the way to help ensure SARRI’s recovery efforts are sustainable in the long term. As crucial custodians of the oceans and marine resources, we will seek free prior, informed consent from communities at each project site before any conservation work can commence. Understanding community needs, SARRI will not only ensure the communities are involved early in the project but also that they co-design benefits linked to recovery efforts, which will be critical for every recovery zone.
Although international momentum to conserve sharks and rays is growing, species continue declining en masse and receiving insufficient attention. The reality is that current conservation efforts simply cannot keep up with the sheer scale of overfishing that is threatening sharks and rays. While all the ongoing efforts continue, we need to complement them with new, targeted, scalable approaches to recover threatened populations that can be applied rapidly for multiple species, in multiple places.
Big things cannot be achieved alone. This is why leading shark and ray conservation experts and scientists from WWF, Elasmo Project, James Cook University (JCU), and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have come together to undertake this recovery mission.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, with more than 5 million supporters and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Founded in 2014, WWF’s global shark and ray conservation programme “Sharks: Restoring the Balance” supports conservation teams working in over 20 countries and territories across 6 continents and focuses on fisheries management, trade, and consumption.
The Elasmo Project is a non-profit initiative based in the United Arab Emirates. Its mission is to advance research, education, and conservation of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). It began in 2010 as part of a PhD project aimed at gaining a better understanding of shark and ray species’ abundance and distribution in the Arabian Sea and adjacent waters (specifically in the Arabian/Persian Gulf waters of the United Arab Emirates). The project has since grown exponentially, expanding to include more than 14 projects across eight countries. All these projects have components focused on understanding fisheries from the viewpoint of fishers, collecting both fishery dependent and independent data, and working with governments and fisheries stakeholders to inform policy at national, regional, and international levels. All current projects are led by local students or early career scientists to ensure capacity building and knowledge transfer.
Research within James Cook University’s Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture (CSTFA) focuses not only on the aquatic and aquaculture systems that produce food, but also the industries and communities that utilize them. Multidisciplinary collaborations between our researchers provide the synergies to address substantial research problems in a way that individual research groups cannot. CSTFA provides research outputs for sustainable food production to local, state, federal and international resource managers, both in government and in the private sector - thus, making us a key player in helping secure aquatic food production in the tropics for future generations.
WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.
SARRI Founder, also Leader of Sharks: Restoring the Balance, WWF
SARRI Founder and Technical Advisor, as well as Founder of Elasmo Project
SARRI Founder and Technical Advisor, as well as Adjunct Professor, James Cook University
SARRI Founder, also Director of Shark and Ray Conservation, WCS
The Shark and Ray Recovery Initiative (SARRI) is our latest response to save sharks and rays from extinction. Past successful recoveries show that these animals can be brought back from the brink. Follow us on this urgent recovery mission.
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