RAPID ASSESSMENT TOOLKIT

FOR SHARKS AND RAYS

© Antonio Busiello/WWF-US

INTRODUCING THE TOOLKIT

WWF and the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries & Aquaculture (CSTFA) at James Cook University have developed the first Rapid Assessment Toolkit focused on sharks and rays. The Toolkit consists of practical and simple step-by-step guidelines for collecting basic information using six complimentary tools.

Nearly twenty years after the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks was launched, many shark-fishing nations still do not have National Plans of Action, while the conservation status of many species cannot be determined. In many cases, a lack of basic information continues to hinder better management. 

The Rapid Assessment Toolkit for Sharks and Rays (the Toolkit) is aimed primarily at countries with insufficient species-specific data to allow science-based management. Such nations may have limited capacity and resources to gather data that could help them accurately determine the true states of their coastal environments, a situation common among marine-based communities. The Toolkit is designed to help remedy the dearth of basic information on movements, biodiversity and catch trends in many countries in Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

 


In partnership with

  

  

photo credit

TOOL 1: TAXONOMY

TOOL 2: GENETICS

TOOL 3: CREEL AND MARKET SURVEYS

TOOL 4: BAITED REMOTE UNDERWATER VIDEO SYSTEMS (BRUVS)

TOOL 5: TAGGING AND TRACKING

TOOL 6: CITIZEN SCIENCE

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 1: TAXONOMY

Taxonomy is used to identify shark and ray species accurately. A clear understanding of the species of sharks and rays present in a country’s waters and captured in its fisheries provides important baseline and monitoring data for conservation and fisheries management.

  • WHAT IS TAXONOMY?
  • IDENTIFICATION GUIDES
  • HOW TO USE TAXONOMIC KEYS
  • HOW TO TAKE A GOOD PHOTO FOR IDENTIFICATION

TAXONOMY TOOL

FULL TOOLKIT

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 2: GENETICS

Genetic analysis provides accurate species identification from only a small tissue sample. It can be used when an individual animal is difficult to identify through visual examination or if the whole animal is no longer accessible. Genetics is also used to confirm that a visual identification is correct.

  • WHAT IS GENETIC ANALYSIS?
  • GENETIC SAMPLES
  • WET TISSUE SAMPLING
  • PACKAGING SAMPLES FOR TESTING

GENETICS TOOL

FULL TOOLKIT

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 3: CREEL AND MARKET SURVEYS

Creel and market surveys collect information on the sharks and rays being fished in a country, and monitor catches over time to detect any changes in the stocks.

  • DESIGNING AN EFFECTIVE SURVEY
  • FISHERIES DATA
  • GATHERING KEY DATA ON INDIVIDUAL SHARK AND RAY SPECIMENS

CREEL AND MARKET SURVEYS TOOL

FULL TOOLKIT

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 4: BAITED REMOTE UNDERWATER VIDEO SYSTEMS (BRUVS)

BRUVS surveys are a valuable tool for determining which species are present
 in an area and estimating relative abundance between areas. They’re a non-destructive sampling method that’s simple to repeat, reliable and cost-effective.

  • WHAT ARE BRUVS?
  • DESIGNING THE PROGRAMME
  • CONSTRUCTING BRUVS UNITS
  • CAMERA
  • VIEWING VIDEO FOOTAGE

BAITED REMOTE UNDERWATER VIDEO SYSTEMS

FULL TOOLKIT

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 5: TAGGING AND TRACKING

Tagging and tracking provide valuable data on population size, stock structure and habitat use of sharks and rays. These are all important considerations in fisheries management, which aims to ensure that fishing is sustainable.

  • FORMS OF TAGGING AND TRACKING
  • HOW DO TAGGING AND TRACKING WORK?
  • SATELLITE TAGGING
  • ACOUSTIC TRACKING
  • TAG DATASHEETS

TAGGING AND TRACKING TOOL

FULL TOOLKIT

Jurgen Freund/WWF

TOOL 6: CITIZEN SCIENCE

Depending on the scope of a project, large numbers of citizen scientists can collect shark and ray data across large areas and time scales. As well as offering significant cost savings, the approach can be particularly effective for sampling sharks and rays since they’re generally highly mobile and patchily distributed, mostly in low numbers.

  • FINDING VOLUNTEERS
  • WHAT ARE CITIZEN SCIENCE PROGRAMMES USED FOR?
  • PHOTOGRAPHY

CITIZEN SCIENCE TOOL

FULL TOOLKIT

Other tools from WWF and partners

A Practical Guide to the Effective Design and
Management of MPAs for Sharks and Rays

Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism
– A Guide to Best Practice

Rapid Assessment Toolkit for Sharks and Rays is one of three tools published by WWF and partners since 2017. Together with A Practical Guide to the Effective Design and Management of MPAs for Sharks and Rays and the Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism – A Guide to Best Practice, the guides are designed to compliment one another in providing scientifically proven approaches to data collection and the effective management of these vulnerable creatures.

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