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

 

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 2014 NORTHERN BAJA ARTISANAL SHARK FISHERY EXPEDITION

PRIMARY FOCUS: EASTERN PACIFIC HOUNDSHARKS

In May 2014, the Predators in Peril team will travel to San Felipe in the northern Sea of Cortez to document the work of artisanal shark fishermen in that region. There are a number of endemic species of sharks that have not yet been photographed from northern Baja including the sicklefin smoothhound shark (Mustelus lunulatus) and the whitemargin houndshark (M.albipinnis).

 

SECONDARY FOCUS: PRICKLY SHARKS AND COMMON THRESHER SHARKS

To maximize the effectiveness of the expedition, the Predators in Peril Team will make two stops in California on the way to Northern Baja:

 

The first stop will be in Monterey to attempt to photograph the population of prickly sharks (Echinorhinus cookei) that inhabit Monterey Canyon. Although not directly targeted by fisheries, prickly sharks (considered 'near threatened' by the IUCN) are rare deepwater animals that are taken as bycatch by line fishermen and by deepwater trawlers.

 

The second stop will be in San Diego to work with sport fishermen that target migrating thresher sharks. Common threshers (Alopias vulpinus) head inshore to feed in the early summer off the coast of Southern California. By working with catch and release shark taggers, PIP founder Andy Murch hopes to document this iconic species that is listed as 'vulnerable' throughout its temperate global range.

 

EXPEDITION TIMING: SPRING TIDES

The expedition is scheduled to coincide with the highest spring tides in northern Baja. This is best time for the fishermen to reach deep water. At other times, the northern reaches of the Sea of Cortez are very shallow so it is not possible for the fishermen to float their pangas.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Special thanks to Dr Juan Carlos Pérez Jiménes from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR). Dr Pérez was extremely helpful with information about the fisheries in Baja California.