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
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
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.