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The Foundation supports projects both financially and in an advisory function. For purposes of controlling results and ensuring quality it requests yearly project reports. Whenever necessary, Shark Foundation projects are examined by the Foundation's > scientific advisory committee which is composed of highly qualified shark researchers and scientists.

We need your help in order to carry out the various projects. You can support individual projects directly by noting the respective donation code on the > deposit slip or > bank transfer.


 Bull Shark Tagging Programme, Fiji

Donation code: Bull Shark Tagging

The Bull Shark Tagging Programme aims at a better understanding of the behaviour, ecology and aspects of population biology of bull sharks in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean using direct and indirect observation methods as well as genetic techniques. Direct observation of bull sharks allows to get insight into the secret life of these elusive apex predators that are not possible to obtain with other methods. Since 2003, bull sharks have been observed by SCUBA divers in their natural habitat in Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji. This allows to obtain, for example, data for estimating the local population size. At the same time, tissue samples are taken regularly that help to reveal the global genetic structure of the bull shark

Bull shark
© Klaus Jost / Shark Foundation
Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).

In Fiji and in the Atlantic (Bahamas and Florida), small- and large-scale movement patterns of bull sharks have been investigated using acoustic and satellite telemetry methods. Pop-up satellite archival tags have been externally attached to bull sharks. These tags collect pressure, temperature, and light-intensity data. After a preset attachment interval the tags detach from the shark, float to the water surface and transmit the archived data via satellite to the researcher. These data give information on large-scale movements (over hundreds of kilometers) away from the tagging site and insight into diving patterns, and therefore allow a better definition of the ecological niche of the bull shark.



Preparing the highly complex transmitter.  Tags
© Jürg Brunnschweiler
Preparing the highly complex transmitter.

As part of the Bull Shark Tagging Programme, acoustic transmitters have been fed to, externally attached onto or surgically implanted into bull sharks. Such tagged sharks are then picked up by receivers placed over the reefs whenever they come into detection range (several to dozens of meters depending on the reef topography). This allows to track the small-scale movement patterns of bull sharks as well as monitoring the presence/absence of individual sharks within a protected area. Additionally, acoustic transmitters that are fed to the sharks can record stomach temperature to provide important physiological data.

Project leader: Jürg Brunnschweiler

The Foundation finances part of the project since 2004, especially transmitters and receivers.

Investment until today: CHF 41'200

 
 Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji

Donation code: Shark Reef Fiji

Diving tourism has become an important factor in shark conservation. Studies from the Bahamas, South Africa, the Maldives and other major diving destinations show that the value of a life shark that can be encountered in its natural habitat is about USD 10'000 a year. In contrast, a dead shark that is killed for its fins and other products only yields about USD 500 once.

Shark Reef Fiji
© Klaus Jost / Shark Foundation
Shark Reef Marine Reserve off the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji

The Foundation has been supporting Mike Neumann's Shark Reef Marine Reserve project in Fiji. The basic concept of this small-scale shark conservation project off the southcoast of Viti Levu is that the local villages that traditionally own the fishing rights on Shark Reef give up fishing in the reserve. As a compensation, the villages are eligible to receive a marine park levy collected by a local dive operator from visiting divers that dive in Shark Reef Marine Reserve. Today, Shark Reef Marine Reserve is a unique shark conservation project that not only protects sharks but an impressive number of other reef creatures.

Besides up to eight different species of sharks, more than 400 species of fish can be regularly encountered in Shark Reef Marine Reserve.


Healthy underwater world at the Shark Reef.
© Klaus Jost / Shark Foundation
Healthy underwater world at the Shark Reef.

Shark Reef Marine Reserve not only is a successful shark conservation project in the South Pacific, but also serves as the main field site of the Bull Shark Tagging Programme. Sharks and many other fish species can be directly observed and, if necessary, tagged with satellite and acoustic tags in the marine reserve.

Project leader: Mike Neumann

In 2004 the Foundation financed the 10-meter motorboat "Reef Warden", to be used by the trained gamekeeper to patrol the nature reserve, with CHF 23,000.

Investment until today: CHF 26'600

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