«Over the last decade, I have spent considerable time working across the African continent. I have often felt that there is so little information and so few projects focused on sharks in so many countries where we simply know nothing about the status of species and their interactions with fisheries. So, I was thrilled to see contributions from the African region for this issue. We feature work being done in South Africa through the Two Oceans Aquarium, which has set up a Shark Alley exhibit… In parallel, also in South Africa, a team from WILDOCEANS has been working with beachgoers to promote awareness of the need to conserve species and the importance of sharks in maintaining healthy ecosystems... We have exciting news from Guinea Bissau, where a team has tagged Critically Endangered species in a natural wonderland – the Bijagos Archipelago... We also have a report of the first record of a Saw Shark from Namibia – the first record of this species group from anywhere along the coast of western Africa! There are undoubtedly many other stories out there, and I look forward to reading more from these emerging projects.
…We feature a report on how to improve synergies between Regional Fisheries Bodies and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)… Andy Cornish from WWF introduces us to SARRI – the Shark and Ray Recovery Initiative – where sites have been chosen around the world to work with coastal communities, local partners, and experts to secure shark recovery zones. Our feature story is once again related to Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRA) as we move closer to making this a reality. With core funding from the Shark Conservation Fund, it is exciting to share how this approach can complement other similar area-based biodiversity and seascape approaches. Both projects are progressing at a fast pace, so we hope to keep providing updates about them.
Dr Rima W. Jabado: IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG) Chair
We also would like to thank and recognise the many contributors who have contributed and helped to shape this sixth issue: Rima Jabado, Chelsea Stein, Alexandra Morata, Natascha Wosnick, Issah Seidu, Benaya Simeon, Lauren De Vos, Helen Lockhart, Lauren van Nijkerk, Ruth H. Leeney, David Shiffman, Sarah Fowler, Amie Bräutigam, Nicola Okes, Glenn Sant, Lucia Vargas, Mario Espinoza, Franck Pichot, David Mouillot, Andy Cornish, Guido Leurs, Michael Scholl, Peter Scholl and all the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG) members.