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

 

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 NORTH AMERICAN SHARPNOSE SHARKS EXPEDITION

By working with artisanal fishermen based in Mulegé on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula, PIP Photographer Andy Murch was able to obtain the first live images of Pacific Sharpnose Sharks. As well as images of free swimming animals, Andy spent time composing compelling images of sharks thrashing on long-lines. These images were subsequently used by many conservation initiatives around the world.

The IUCN lists the Pacific Sharpnose Shark as Data Deficient but intense fishing pressure from the artisanal fleets along both coasts of the Sea of Cortez are undoubtedly taking a toll on the endemic population.

 

On the second leg of the expedition, Andy traveled to the Gulf of Mexico to accompany Dr Eric Hoffmayer from the University of Southern Mississippi on a tagging expedition of inshore shark species. Although conditions close to the Mississippi Delta were far from ideal for photography, Andy was able to build a portfolio of images of Atlantic Sharpnose Sharks which are considered 'least concern' but have a limited range and are therefore vulnerable to habitat destruction.