Demian Chapman, Ph.D.


Demian Chapman is an assistant professor at Florida International University. Previously, he was a faculty member at Stony Book University in New York. His research combines molecular and field approaches to better understand the population biology, behavior, and ecology of large marine vertebrates, particularly sharks and their relatives. Shark populations worldwide have experienced heavy fishing pressure to supply the Asian dried seafood trade, in which shark fins and meat are sold to make soup. Amid concerns about declining shark populations, member countries of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) voted in 2013 to list five threatened shark species under the convention’s Appendix II, which requires permits to trade specimens. The species—oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and three types of hammerheads—are among the most valuable and vulnerable sharks in international trade. If the Appendix II listings are effectively implemented, fins of these species would come only from regions where harvests are deemed sustainable by management authorities. The listings now require that the international trade of shark body parts, such as fins, have export permits certifying that the trading will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. Border control personnel all over the world are now inspecting shipments of shark fins for illicit trade. This represents the first large-scale, internationally coordinated effort to regulate the shark fin trade on a species-specific basis. This complex endeavor requires ongoing capacity building and regular assessments of the process. The objectives of Chapman’s Pew fellowship are twofold. He and his team are investigating the availability of CITES-listed species in trade before and after the listing. This research is helping explain the impact of CITES on the overall supply and on retail sales. Chapman hopes that this new information will be used in ongoing efforts to strengthen implementation of these listings, including targeted regional efforts to train border control personnel to identify the fins of listed species. To learn more about Chapman, visit his bio online:

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