Elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates) are at risk worldwide because they are over-targeted in fishing, either as intended catch or as by-catch. Sharks and skates are often caught for their fins for shark fin soup. So-called ‘shark finning’ is the gruesome act of cutting the fins off of a shark or skate while often be alive during the ordeal. The valuable fins are sold and the animal is often discarded like trash, dying a slow death. These fins don’t really add to the taste of the soup, it is merely a status symbol in China and a few other countries. As a result, yearly 70-100 million sharks are caught and most of the 400+ shark and skate species have dramatically declined in numbers, in some cases even with 70-90%.

Some ray species, such as the endangered Manta Ray, are targeted for their gills. In China the gills are used for medicine (total baloney of course!). Just like shark finning, the fishers only target one small part of the animal, not the meat of the ray.

For this project we developed awareness materials for fishermen, school children and the general public in collaboration with Cordio. With Bahari Hai (Watamu) and 5 other local NGOs we are targeting a wide array of stakeholders along the Kenyan coast since mid 2023. Education is key in protecting these important species. Part of the program is also to identify shark and ray nursery grounds, to do research on alternative fishing gear and to advise local decision makers.

_Go back