White SharkWhite Shark. Photo: John Gransbury

Sea Shepherd is pleased to announce that it has joined forces with the Support our Sharks (SOS) Ocean Conservation Society to build a network of shark and ray observers around the world as a way to conserve vulnerable marine species worldwide.

By having supporters and volunteers around the globe enter sightings via SOS’s “SharkBase” program (www.shark-base.org), Sea Shepherd will be assisting in mapping the distribution and structure of shark and ray populations.

With citizen science gaining popularity as a means to aid researchers in the collection and analysis of important information, Managing Director for Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen said that it made perfect sense to align with the SharkBase program and utilize the passionate and hard working volunteers and supporters of Sea Shepherd to assist in the assessment of shark and ray populations.

“Sea Shepherd has been an active champion for the shark conservation worldwide, from our work in the Galapagos Islands, where we set up an Automatic Identification System (AIS) to monitor movements of fishing vessels in a bid to stamp out illegal poaching of sharks, to expanding our efforts into the South Pacific and Australia,” Jeff Hansen said.

“The SharkBase program integrates easily into our shark conservation campaigns, including one of our newest campaigns, Apex Harmony, and will engage our volunteer and supporter base to take further action to assist in the conservation of marine animals.”

With many shark species at significant risk of unrecoverable decline, Sea Shepherd believes that effective conservation of sharks is needed and that understanding their population status is one of the first steps in future conservation activities.

By aligning Sea Shepherd with the SharkBase program, citizen scientists could hold the key to improving our understanding of shark populations, while also advancing community education.

“This is a win-win program for the community and the marine ecosystem,” Jeff Hansen said.

“We are thrilled to be play a role in educating the community on shark populations worldwide and to work alongside internationally recognised shark scientists who will ensure that the data collected will assist in the future conservation of shark populations.”

By removing the sick and the weak, sharks maintain the health and balance of our delicately balanced marine ecosystems; they really are the doctors of the sea. Places where sharks have been removed have seen effects ranging from complete collapse of fisheries to sick coral reefs.

Please join Sea Shepherd in our fight to save the doctors of the oceans and to find out more go here operation Apex Harmony link (http://www.seashepherd.org.au/apex-harmony/).

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