DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE PLIGHT OF HIGHLY VULNERABLE SHARK AND RAY SPECIES WORLDWIDE

 

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 PREDATORS IN PERIL GOALS

TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE PLIGHT OF HIGHLY VULNERABLE SHARK AND RAY SPECIES

TO PROVIDE IMAGES OF UNDOCUMENTED SPECIES FOR CONSERVATION INITIATIVES.

TO CHANNEL SUPPORT INTO PRODUCTIVE CONSERVATION MOVEMENTS.

 PIP OVERVIEW

The Predators in Peril Project involves working in the field with artisanal shark fishermen and scientific researchers to obtain live images and video footage of rare, endangered or simply overlooked elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) both in their natural habitats and in the process of being captured. Each field expedition is followed by an intensive social media campaign to help spread the word about the subject species.

From the shallow waters of the Sea of Cortez to the abyssal plains of the Deep Atlantic, thousands of poorly known and rarely encountered sharks are being killed every day for their meat, liver oil, cartilage and fins. Some species like the enigmatic daggernose shark (Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus), are teetering on the brink of extinction, but there is little effort being made to protect the remnant population from further fishing pressure.

While well funded global conservation groups diligently battle to save our ocean's apex predators such as the great white shark, few people are even aware of the existence of many less celebrated species. Partly this is because they are naturally reclusive animals that are not easily studied. Many live in hostile environments such as murky estuarine water or at abyssal depths. And partly, it is because the main stream media is more interested in publicizing the 'wow factor' of protecting big sharks than discussing the critical and complex role that smaller species play both as predators of lesser fishes and invertebrates and as important prey species for larger sharks.

 PIP ORIGINS

The Predators in Peril Project stems from a clearly identifiable need for better (or in some cases the first) images and video of poorly documented, vulnerable sharks and rays for conservation initiatives. In 2006, Photojournalist and Project Leader Andy Murch, took some of the first clear images of a free swimming Porbeagle Shark, while in the Bay of Fundy accompanying Dr Steve Turnbull and a team of researchers from the University of New Brunswick.

The images were subsequently used by the Shark Alliance, the World Wildlife Fund and a number of other NGOs to illustrate a pending CITES proposal.  

Further research uncovered a severe lack of high quality photographs and video of more obscure species of endangered sharks and rays which spurred the idea of a series of expeditions focusing specifically on the acquisition of images of rarely encountered species to aid and incite conservation efforts.

 PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

PUBLICITY IN THE FIELD

Where possible, while in the field, PIP field team members upload images to social media sites, of shark and ray species that have been  encountered or documented. Peripheral images of the fishermen and local shark researchers and the regions traveled through are also highlighted.

REGIONAL CONSERVATION INITIATIVES

The images resulting from PIP Expeditions are offered in electronic format to regional conservation organizations that are working within the appropriate geographic region. This facilitates the production of more inspiring educational material for inclusion in regional conservation campaigns. Regional media companies are also solicited while in the field to stimulate local public awareness.

NETWORK PUBLICITY

Media networks are invited to conduct interviews to discuss the findings of the project.

MAGAZINE PUBLICITY

Where possible, illustrated articles about the plight of the subject species appear in diving magazines and every effort is made to encourage more mainstream magazines to run stories on PIP expeditions and conservation efforts.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

PIP Founder and Expedition Leader Andy Murch is available for select speaking engagements.