Wednesday, November 28, 2007

 

GMR Sharks Migrate to Other Zones in the Pacific

PRESS RELEASE

Release Date: November 20th 2007

Contact: Ivonne Guzmán

Email: cdfinfo@fcdarwin.org.ec / (593) 5 2526-146/147 ext. 142 (+593) 99 4818 93

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GMR Sharks Migrate to Other Zones in the Pacific

The third shark tagging expedition in the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) concluded last week. More and more is being discovered about these species, which still abound in the area, and each new piece of information enhances their management and further ensures their conservation.

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), Galapagos National Park (GNP), WWF, and Conservation International (CI) launched this third voyage to seek an understanding of hammerhead, Galapagos, and whale shark movements inside and in the area of the GMR.

A National Geographic filming team went along on this trip to prepare a documentary on hammerhead research work and conservation in the region. During the operation, one hammerhead was followed for 44 straight hours, and two whale sharks and thirty hammerheads were tagged. In addition, all the information recorded in the previously installed underwater monitors was recovered. The most important achievement was the placement of two satellite tags on hammerhead sharks that are now emitting data on their positions. This is the first time anywhere in the world that it has been possible to tag these sharks with this kind of device, which will provide insights into hammerhead migratory patterns.

The two prior tagging voyages have made it possible to establish that the hammerheads dwell in Galapagos most of the year, constantly ranging between Darwin and Wolf islands. This kind of information is obtained by doing continuous monitoring of a tagged shark over 48-hour periods, as well as by gathering up the last three months' data from the underwater receivers that were placed many months ago. This is how it was recently learned that two hammerhead sharks tagged in the GMR were at Coco Island, Costa Rica, which demonstrates that connectivity exists between the two protected marine areas, according to Alex Hearn, the FCD project leader.

Furthermore, a shark tagged in March 2006 in Malpelo, Colombia was recorded at Coco Island the following month. This interrelatedness between Coco Island, Malpelo and Galapagos suggests the existence of marine biological corridors whose still unknown routes should be discovered soon to pinpoint the sites and areas that are indispensable to protecting these migratory sharks.

“This discovery reconfirms that for management efforts to be effective, they must be regionally and internationally implemented,” according to Ilena Zanella of PRETOMA, the organization carrying out shark studies on Coco Island.




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