Advancing molecular tools to monitor the shark trade in Indonesia
Intensive shark fishing—driven by high demand for fins used in luxury food products and traditional medicines—poses a serious threat to shark populations in Indonesia. The nation’s estimated annual shark catch exceeds 100,000 tons. This catch is mostly used for fins, which can be legally exported, but are subject to international regulations regarding trade in endangered species. Indonesia prohibits sales of 12 shark species, but enforcement is ineffective because of the size of the fishery and the difficulty of visually identifying species by their fins alone. Andrianus Sembiring will develop a rapid, reliable, and cost-effective method for identifying protected shark species sold in international markets to enable more effective conservation in Indonesia.
Sembiring will develop a new genetic test for rapidly and accurately identifying shark fins exported from Indonesia. He will train government staff, university scientists, representatives from nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders to apply genetic sampling tools to improve monitoring and enforcement of the shark fin export market.
He also will assess fishing pressure on threatened shark species across the Indonesian archipelago and identify populations and local areas in need of stronger management. Sembiring’s project will help build a genetic database of the species that are landed and sold in Indonesia, enabling more accurate and effective enforcement of shark protections.
To learn more about Sembiring, read his bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrianus-sembiring-571aa4b8/