Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Apr 1, 2011

OF SHIPS AND TIGERS

It was a beautiful winter day with a light north easterly wind, providing for calm conditions in the protection of West Bay, anticipating the deployment and sinking of the USS Kittiwake here in Grand Cayman.  Accompanied by Jessica and Alexander, my kids who are both keen divers, we anchored outside the perimeter marked off by the Department of Environment and the Marine Police.  Regular updates on the VHF radio gave us an idea of the history of the ship and the projected sinking schedule. The details of the ship’s construction and service can be found on a number of dedicated websites.

Pumping sea water into the hold began around 10:30 a.m.  At approximately 2:25 p.m. she started sinking rapidly, stern going down and listing sharply to port.  I bet a number of people were holding their breath as it seemed she would topple over in spite of all the preparations, and then appeared to sink upright as air rushed from the port holes and open hatches.

GHRI and GHOF collaborate with other research organizations to better understand tiger sharks

I am a great supporter of artificial reefs, even in a coral reef environment such as ours.  Socio economic studies of artificial reefs in Florida demonstrate hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by individual artificial reefs from diving and sport fishing activity each year.  As it took about 8 years for this project to be executed, perhaps we, the diving community, the Cayman Island Tourism Association and the Cayman Island Government should immediately start the search for another suitable ship for an artificial reef to be the successor to the “Kittiwake”.  I will put my money where my mouth is and volunteer my Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) to assist in locating and funding the next ship.

Talking of mouths, the tiger shark has a big, wide mouth adapted to ripping large chunks out of dead, decaying marine mammals and has large serrated teeth, with re-curved tips designed like a can opener to feed on turtles.  Tiger sharks have been of great interest to me and my research arm, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI).  We have tagged or sponsored the electronic tagging of 41 tiger sharks in the north western Atlantic in the last two years.  Each SPOT (Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting) tag deployed to the dorsal fin of the shark costs about $2,500 and then another $500 for the satellite time and monitoring. We have tagged tigers: 28 in Bermuda, 7 in the United States Virgin Islands, 4 in the Bahamas and just recently two in Grand Cayman.

The GHRI and GHOF collaborated with a number of research organizations in each of these island territories, which is why the project has been so successful.  Tiger sharks, we are now discovering, make seasonal migrations spending much of the warm summer months cruising in the open ocean, often in very deep water, looking for migrating turtles and feeding opportunistically on dead floating animals such as dolphin, whales, fish and sea birds.  In the winter, they move into the reef environment around oceanic islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas and will come into very shallow water targeting rays, fish and lobsters.

The Overseas Territories Environmental Programme, with assistance from the DoE, has sponsored a shark population analysis study in the Cayman Islands.  Being particularly interested in tiger sharks here, the GHOF sponsored SPOTs when the team caught and tagged two tigers in early December 2010.  Both were caught at night in North Sound and successfully released bearing an internal sonic tag and external SPOT attached to the dorsal fin.  Each time the animal swims at the surface, the tag sends a signal to a satellite giving its position very accurately.  The team was also able to tag Caribbean reef sharks, black tip sharks and nurse sharks—all caught at night in North Sound.

Divers and photographers have been safely interacting with tiger sharks for decades and have watched in horror as their numbers and those of other pelagic migratory sharks have been annihilated for the last three decades in the shark fin trade that threatens to clear all sharks from the planet.

If you are lucky enough to see one of the tiger sharks we have tagged, please send me or the DoE a photo of the animal.  If you happen to catch one while out fishing, then please release the animal alive (as you should release all sharks alive) responsibly.  In time, all shark species around Cayman will receive the protection they surely need under the new Conservation Law.

Fish responsibly, dive safely.

— Guy Harvey

 For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please visit: www.guyharveysportswear.com

Mar 25, 2011

COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION IN CAYMAN – Part II

Our late evening dives were scheduled for 6 p.m. just as the sun was dipping below the horizon. Some DoE staff used rebreather gear to get deeper than the rest of the researchers, and could also stay longer to film the spawning.

The sight of the excited milling groupers was as impressive as many of the great underwater experiences I have witnessed. I have filmed schools of bluefin tuna, great white sharks, marlin, sailfish, whale sharks, whales and dolphins. I’ve done racing drift dives in the Galapagos and on the Great Barrier Reef— this one ranks right up there among them. As it grew dark, the males chased the gravid females in pre-spawning behavior called “caging”. Using bright lights, the footage we took of this behavior was tremendous. As a result of caging, the females shot upwards of twenty feet or more, the other males rushed in from the side to join the action and the gametes were released in a cloud that reduced the visibility temporarily.  As the night came on, this process was repeated many times before we had to leave them.

We saw tiger groupers, yellowfin groupers and black groupers, all congregating at the SPAG at the same time as the Nassau groupers. Black jacks, horseye jacks and bar jacks were getting things going as well.

With the spawning complete, the groupers started to head back to their home patch reef, thus, their numbers dwindled. All of them, returning along the steep reefs of Little Cayman to take up their former positions.

It is important to protect spawning areas

The protection of groupers on the SPAGs was working. The regulations have been adequate so far, but as the groupers start to recover, they require more protection, not more fishing. Scott Heppell could not have put it better in his interview with me; “Like growing your bank account, increasing the stock size yields higher dividends without cutting into your principle. Ultimately, the sacrifice involved with rebuilding stocks will put us in a position to catch more fish.” This is what the (disgruntled) fishermen in the Cayman Islands need to comprehend.

There are challenges during the rebuilding process while we are investing more groupers in the “bank”, which is where we currently stand in Little Cayman. During the rebuilding process there are more fish in the water long before the rebuilding goal is attained. The existence of more fish, through conservation efforts by the DoE, could lead to higher catch rates, which would cause a short circuit in the rebuilding process, putting us back to where we were ten years ago. The challenge is to limit catch rates during rebuilding and then manage the bigger bank account without eating into your capital (brood stock) once the stock is rebuilt.

At present, the DoE does a very good job of keeping user groups informed about conservation measures and holds several town meetings annually to appraise fishermen about the natural history of the Nassau grouper and the relevance of their conservation measures. These meetings are well advertized and promoted. I was staggered at the last meeting held in West Bay in February when not one person from the community showed up.

My recommendations for additional conservation measures are as follows;

1)  Review and check that the existing boundaries of the SPAGS are accurate.

2)  Extend the no fish zone to two miles around each SPAG, but keeping the same period of exclusion, November 1 to March 31. (Remember many other species of grouper, snapper and jacks spawn in the SPAGs at the same time as the Nassau grouper.) SPAGs are VERY important to protect for the benefit of the reef ecosystem.

3)  Total protection for Nassau groupers in all three islands during spawning season, November 1 to March 31. No catch, no sale, no possession. Nassau groupers are getting ready to spawn during these months and those that have survived the year should be allowed to spawn. At this stage of the recovery every single fish is important.

4)  Raise the minimum length of eligible Nassau grouper from 12 inches to 18 inches. A 12 inch fish is a juvenile and has not yet spawned. It is reasonable to allow fish to spawn once to replace themselves before they are recruited into a fishery.

5)  Allow limited fishing for Nassau groupers for the remainder of the year outside of marine parks, but, with a limit of one fish per boat per day. Undersized fish brought to the surface may easily be released and returned to the reef using the correct weighted barbless hook technique. If it has not been done so, the DoE can demonstrate this effective conservation method to fishermen.

Looking at the bigger picture, Little Cayman, with its unique red footed boobies and frigate bird colonies, the indigenous rock iguana, the tarpon lake, Bloody Bay wall and the Nassau grouper, all add up to a very special place that we need to conserve. The title “World Heritage Site” comes to mind.

It will be great to get feedback from the public. You can write a letter by email to;

The Premier, Honourable McKeeva Bush mckeeva.bush@gov.ky

The Minister of the Environment, Mark Scotland mark.scotland@gov.ky

Marine Conservation Board Chairman, Don Foster dfoster@candw.ky

Secretary of the MCB, Phillippe Bush phillippe.bush@gov.ky

Director of the Dept of Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie gina.ebanks-petrie@gov.ky.

Letters may be sent to Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Dept of Environment, CI Government, PO Box 486, Grand Cayman KY1-1106.

It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain the biodiversity of the planet.

Dive safely, fish responsibly.

—Guy Harvey PhD.

For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please visit: www.guyharveysportswear.com

Mar 18, 2011

COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION IN CAYMAN—Part I

 

Returning from an inspiring documentary shoot in Little Cayman last week, I have been itching to tell the story of how cooperation between the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government entities is working to assist in the conservation of fish species in the Cayman Islands. Following the public outrage of the massive extraction of Nassau groupers at their spawning sites in the Sister Islands nine years ago, the Marine Conservation Board (MCB) acted on a recommendation from the Department of Environment (DoE) to close the Spawning Aggregation (SPAG) sites to any form of fishing for eight years. For a small nation that heavily depends on diving tourism for income, that was a smart move. Hooray for common sense!

My opening line in the documentary goes “Throughout the warm waters of the western Atlantic and the Caribbean, one species of fish that stands out as the icon of the coral reef environment…the Nassau grouper.” So why are we still catching Nassau grouper if their numbers are so low?

Spawning sites for Nassau Grouper in the Cayman Islands need protection

Protection for the spawning adults was quickly put in place. Meanwhile, Nassau groupers over 12 inches in length, could be caught for the rest of the year anywhere in their range in the Cayman Islands. Eight years have flown by. The ban on fishing the SPAGs is now up for review by the MCB just as the results of all this effort are just starting to pay off for the Nassau groupers. It is quite apparent that this conservation effort (via closed areas and closed seasons) needs to continue for generations to come. As an icon in the Caribbean, the Nassau grouper is featured in photographs, calendars, logos, signage, and in television shows from Belize to Trinidad.  Nassau groupers can be conditioned toward divers and can make a divers experience go from a good dive to a great dive when one is encountered. 

What impressed me most about this research effort was that every aspect of the life history of the Nassau grouper has been studied. Brice and Christy Semmens are leading the charge. Christy is the Scientific Director at REEF (please visit http://www.reef.org/). They were assisted by Dr. Steve Gittings who is National Science Coordinator of the National Marine Sanctuaries at NOAA as well as several other PhD students and volunteers. In addition, the Cayman Island Dept. of Environment has conducted age and growth studies as well as tracking, using sonic transducers and listening receivers deployed around all three islands. Lead in the field by Phil Bush, with James, Keith, Delwyn and Kevin, the DoE played a most important role in delivering logistical support and personnel, critical in the execution of the research.  Use of the RV “Sea Keeper” was critical as a large platform from which to dive in rough seas and strong currents.

Because one SPAG site on the western end of Little Cayman was deemed as still viable, most of the research effort has been concentrated there. Heavier fishing pressure around Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman, have taken its toll, resulting in only a few hundred adults still turning up for the annual spawn.

So how did we arrive at this situation? The biology of the Nassau grouper works against its chances of accommodating any prolonged level of exploitation because it is a long lived, slow growing fish. This species aggregates in large numbers annually in the same place at the same time of year. Once humans find out about these “grouper holes”, greed takes over and they are fished until annihilated. Many species of grouper have the same spawning behavior. As a good example of how effective conservation can be, only twenty years of protection for the biggest of all groupers, the goliath grouper, has resulted in a revival of this species in Florida. The black grouper, yellowfin, red grouper and Nassau grouper, all need the same protection if they are to recover.

Historically the Cayman islanders fished the groupers in the grouper holes taking just what they needed. Apparently, twenty fish per day, per boat was the typical catch. As there was no refrigeration, the fish were salted and dried for later consumption. During grouper season, so many groupers were drying at homes on East End, you could smell them from Pease Bay and Bodden Town if the wind was right. At some point in the 1950s and 60s, the word got out and mother boats came from Jamaica to buy Nassau groupers from the local fishermen. They put the catch on ice and took the fish back to Jamaica to sell. Tens of thousands of Nassau groupers were caught each season resulting in a steady decline. With no quotas or limits, the population became a shadow of its pre-exploitation levels. Since then, relentless fishing by, local artisanal fishermen, of the remaining adults at the SPAGs, further reduced each SPAG to the hundreds. The same story has taken place throughout the range of the Nassau grouper. Now, before it is too late, renewed efforts in grouper conservation in the Bahamas and in the eastern Caribbean are being initiated based on the example set by Cayman.

Once, it was widely believed that recruitment of juvenile reef species to an oceanic island population was brought about by larval drift from other islands and land masses up current. The misconception prevailed that the Nassau grouper “can’t done, and more will come from the ocean”. Eight years of current and tide studies now show that the fertilized eggs from the SPAGs on Little Cayman leave the island for a short period, but then are brought back by the current eddy or gyre. The parent groupers wait until the current is slack to spawn and the fertilized eggs are broadcast at dusk, reducing predation. The eggs hatch into larvae while suspended in the plankton and grow into juveniles before settlement on the reef.  Drift studies conducted by REEF and by Dr. Scott Heppell of Oregon State University show that the larvae do not travel far from Little Cayman—some may also end up on Cayman Brac. During daylight hours, mortality of eggs, larvae and juveniles is very high due to other planktonic predators.

The data shows that a marine protected area is appropriate in the Cayman Islands

In addition, the scientific team proved that the brood stock participating in the SPAGs only came from Little Cayman and not from Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman, Pickle Bank, Jamaica or Cuba, as some fisherman believed. In fact, there is very little connectivity of island populations throughout the Caribbean, which strengthens the case for conservation of each island’s brood stock or “capital”.

Sonic tracking and visual observations by divers prove that all the mature Nassau groupers travel from their home reef patch on Little Cayman to the SPAG around the time of the full moon in January, February and March. Here, divers still see the grouper migration by day heading to the west as they respond to the reproductive stimuli that have operated successfully for millions of years, enabling sustainable existence for all that time… until man came into the picture.

Another detrimental influence caused by man is the invasion of a Pacific species, the Lionfish. We were joined in Little Cayman by Chris Flook of the Bermuda Aquarium. Lionfish are a small but highly aggressive predator on Cayman reef and have severely impacted smaller reef fish and invertebrates. Chris said, that in Bermuda, they have taken over many cleaning stations, first eating the species that clean other reef fish, including groupers, and then, lie in wait for other fish coming to be cleaned. The same must be happening here. They will also consume juvenile groupers. Research work on lionfish is also being conducted at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) where local dive operators are helping in the collection and eradication of this very dangerous and invasive species. Juvenile Nassau groupers being recruited from the plankton to the reef environment have to avoid another unfamiliar predator, the lionfish.

During the day, the DoE and REEF teams ran a number of counts to estimate the adults participating in the SPAG. About seventy groupers were tagged with spaghetti tags as well as divers using visual and video counts to obtain these estimates. Other divers used lasers attached to underwater video cameras to measure individual fish without having to catch them.

Many groupers stayed close to the bottom or on the bottom and in coral crevices during the day. In the afternoon, they formed a larger cohesive school, and the closer they got to the spawning night, the more the grouper changed colour. Some turned dark losing their characteristic banded pattern, while others assumed a bi-colour phase dark chocolate brown above and brilliant white below with a white stripe through the eye.

— Guy Harvey

See our next week’s blog for Part II

For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please visit: www.guyharveysportswear.com

Nov 4, 2010

Combining Business with Sportfishing Community & Marine Resource Support — Part I

The American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO) is a unique business in that we spend an unusual amount of time and money on the sportfishing community and marine resource issues.  This non business involvement is part of the Shedd family legacy and AFTCO culture.  It started with my father Milt Shedd, who prior to co-founding Sea World in 1964, founded what is now known as the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute (HSWRI).  The mission of HSWRI remains to this day as it was in 1963, “To return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.” Dad thought that even before they opened, Sea World should be looking for ways to give back to the marine community by forming a research institute that would allow universities, marine researchers, and other collaborators to do research work with the ocean life at Sea World.  He felt that little was known about the ocean and the creatures that live there, so in order to insure a healthy future existence of the ocean and its inhabitants, Man needed a greater understanding of that universe.

Dad and Shamu — Milt Shedd established the Shedd family legacy of using business success to support marine resource efforts

Dad applied that same logic to AFTCO when he and Mom purchased the business in 1973.  He encouraged all of us here to be involved with activities that would help add value to the ocean world.  That encouragement remains an inspiration 8 years after his passing in 2002.  As president of AFTCO, I spend over 500 hours a year providing support/leadership to various fishing communities and resource efforts.  Last week’s activities’ in Florida offered a good example of how we, here at AFTCO, continue to balance business and resource efforts.  I thought you might like to hear about what went on.

On Monday I flew from our home office in Irvine California to Florida to attend the American Sportfising Association (ASA) Summit, the sportfishing industries annual meeting.  My main involvement was as Chairman of the ASA Government Affairs Committee.  Our committee met on Tuesday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM and discussed a range of issues including Marine Protected Areas, the National Ocean Policy, Magnuson-Stevens Act Challenges, the Fishery Conservation Transition Act, South Atlantic/Gulf Councils Update, Gulf Oil Spill, Cape Hatteras National Seashore/ORV Management Plan, Lead Issues including several efforts to ban the use of lead, Lake Champlain Issues, Water4Fish/CA Delta Water Challenges,  Reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and the KeepAmericaFishing Angler Advocacy Initiative.   During most of that day, we were joined by Eric Schwaab, the current assistant administrator for fisheries at NOAA.

Tuesday night I attended the International Gamefish Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame Induction ceremony where Yoshiro Hattori (Japan), Steve Huff, George Matthews, John Wilson (England) and Forrest Wood were inducted.  As Chairman of the IGFA Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, I am interested in the entire process from working with fellow committee members to insure the best candidates are selected, all the way up to the induction ceremony.  As the co-chair of the IGFA Fisheries and Conservation committee, I also discussed with IGFA president Rob Kramer and Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser, the new IGFA release only record by length world record category we are about to announce to the fishing world.  (Activities from last Wednesday to Saturday will be covered in our next blog.)

Bill

For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please visit: www.guyharveysportswear.com

Mar 22, 2010

How Fast Can Dolphin Fish Grow?

Guy Harvey t-shirts capture the color and motion of the magnificent Bull Dolphin

Guy Harvey t-shirts capture the color and motion of the magnificent Bull Dolphin

Dolphin fish, also known as mahi mahi or dorado, are abundant worldwide and are the most often caught offshore gamefish.  They are prized not only for their table fare, but also for their acrobatics during the fight, and for their neon colors that range from vibrant greens to blues to yellows.  Nobody captures the dorado’s movements and colors like Guy Harvey does as evidenced by his painting titled “Bull Dolphin” where an excited mahi mahi is all lit up while chasing a school of flying fish.

Mahi mahi are known to be short lived and fast growing, but you will be surprised to know just exactly how fast they are capable of growing.  My father Milt Shedd was the co-founder of SeaWorld Inc. where he served as its Board Chairman from 1964 until he retired in 1985.  One of his early responsibilities was to coordinate the collection of fish for SeaWorld.  On one trip he caught a number of small dorado weighing about 1.5 lbs.  He put them in an exhibit of schooling fish that contained anchovies and sardines.  The dolphin must have thought this tank was the dinner table, as food swam by them at all times. 

Dolphin fish are some of the fastest growing fish in the sea

Dolphin fish are some of the fastest growing fish in the sea

One big bull dolphin lived for 18 months and when it died there was no guessing of its weight as it was taken from the tank to a scale.  For years I have asked people including seasoned anglers, captains and marine biologists how much they thought the dolphin weighed after 18 months in the tank.  Not once has anybody guessed high enough.  In 18 months the 1.5 lb mahi mahi grew to an amazing 68 lbs. 

While they can’t grow that fast in the wild where food is not so easily available and where they would have to burn more calories catching it, this does prove just how fast a dorado is capable of growing.

Jan 10, 2010

The Guy Harvey Research Institute and Marine Conservation Science

Director of Guy Harvey Research Institute

Director of Guy Harvey Research Institute

Thank you so much for your patronage of Guy Harvey art inspired sportswear. Did you know that your purchase of this high quality fishing clothing and fishing t shirts helps our collective efforts on behalf of ocean conservation? Let me explain.

The oceans are a signature part of life on Planet Earth, including factors critical to human survival such as food resources and climate modulation. Most people who earn their livelihoods from the ocean or use it for their recreation are now well aware of the increasingly degraded state of marine ecosystems resulting from overfishing, coastal over-development, pollution and habitat destruction by humans.

But can anything be done to stop this degradation and even restore our marine ecosystems before these changes become irreversible?

Luckily, the answer is still yes and there is evidence to support this optimistic outlook. There is, however, also a strong “but” associated with this optimism – and that is corrective action can no longer be kept on the back burner on our environmental priority list. In fact, all credible science points to the fact that preventing irreversible damage to our oceans will need effective management and conservation actions to be implemented immediately and dynamically on a global scale.

Unfortunately, taking corrective action to restore the health of our oceans has been easier said than done because the issues involved are socioeconomically and scientifically complex. Adding to this complexity is that the oceans provide an average of 18% (developed countries) to 25% (developing countries) of the protein consumed by humans. And the demand for seafood continues to increase with growing human populations and space limitations for agriculture on land. Without urgent, major improvements in how we collectively manage and conserve our oceans worldwide, we face the alarming prospect that the health of earth’s marine ecosystems and fishery resources is quickly becoming strained beyond the point of recovery.

So what’s to be done to improve the state of our oceans?

The absolute foundation for improving ocean governance is the availability of solid scientific information on how marine ecosystems work, and a much larger segment of the public that is educated and passionate about and involved in ocean issues. And this is where we fall short.

Guy Harvey Research Institute

Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

And this is where the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) and its sister organization, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) are playing major roles. Providing this critical foundation of marine ecosystem knowledge via high quality scientific research, university-level education and national and international dissemination of research findings to the general public via major media is the focus of the GHRI’s activities. The GHOF supports the scientific research of the GHRI as its research arm, and also focuses on public education and ocean advocacy activities via documentaries and new generation (social and web) media dissemination of marine conservation issues.

History of the Guy Harvey Research Institute

Dr. Guy Harvey, himself a marine biologist, has long recognized the foundational relationship between scientific knowledge and effective ocean governance. To advance this knowledge he established in 1999 the Guy Harvey Research Institute in collaboration with the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. The mission of the GHRI is to play a global leadership role in providing the scientific information required for effective marine conservation. Its worldwide research work is supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and various government and private foundation grants and individual donors who are passionate about the welfare of the earth’s oceans. A major and long-standing supporter of the GHRI’s scientific research activities is the AFTCO Mfg Co. Incorporated via its AFTCO Bluewater line of Guy Harvey sportswear. The GHRI is also part of the academic arm of the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeastern University, and provides advanced training to U.S. and international students in marine conservation research. This research training focus is an important part of the GHRI’s activities in educating the future stewards of our ocean’s health.

As a guest blogger on this site, I will periodically report on the GHRI’s research activities and important new findings generally in marine science and conservation. Also, please visit our web sites for an overall perspective on what we do. I hope you will find this information to be of interest and it will spur you on to become and remain active supporters for protecting and restoring our fragile oceans and its ecosystems. Thank you again for supporting ocean conservation with your purchases. I hope you will wear your Guy Harvey sportswear with pride and the knowledge that you are making a difference!

Dec 14, 2009

Introducing Guest Blogger Dr Mahmood Shivji

Director of Guy Harvey Research Institute

Director of Guy Harvey Research Institute

We’re excited to add Dr. Mahmood Shivji to our list of contributors to the Guy Harvey Sportswear blog.  Dr. Shivji is the Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Professor at Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center in Florida.

His research combines DNA- and field-based approaches to provide information essential for improving conservation and management of marine species. Dr. Shivji is an internationally recognized authority on shark and billfish conservation research, but if caught off guard – or plied with good red wine and dark chocolate – will admit to surreptitiously working on uncharismatic, tiny coral reef invertebrates also.

Dr Shivji Releasing Tiger Shark

Dr Shivji releasing tiger shark after tagging and DNA sampling

The research program he directs for the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is global in scope. The GHRI’s research, including the amazing discovery that female sharks can give virgin birth and finding new species of sharks and billfish, have consistently received worldwide coverage in the major media, including the Economist, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC and National Public Radio. Dr. Shivji’s research on the shark fin trade and its impacts on shark populations is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum’s Ocean Hall in Washington DC.

We’re looking forward to his blog posts and know you will find them engaging as well!