Guitarfishes and wedgefishes are facing a global conservation crisis. Over the past two decades, scientists have documented large-scale declines in the populations of these shark-like rays. These losses are driven by intense fishing pressure, high demand for their lucrative fins, and habitat destruction. Nearly half of the 62 species in the group are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species as either critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction, but guitarfishes and wedgefishes have received little attention from the conservation community.
Rima Jabado will focus on the exploitation of these species in four countries with limited species-specific data: India, Sri Lanka, Senegal, and Mauritania. She will develop new tools for local data collection and analysis to help standardize research approaches and will undertake field trainings to build the capacity of local researchers to monitor these species. Jabado also will quantify fisheries landings of guitarfishes and wedgefishes, and interview fishers to identify the social and economic drivers behind the exploitation. Results from this research will inform national, regional, and international policy and management measures and provide critical data to support the development of conservation action plans.
To learn more about Jabado, read her bio: http://www.gulfelasmoproject.com/the-team.html.