In an effort to protect these vulnerable animals, the MADE (Mitigating Adverse Ecological Impacts of Open Ocean Fisheries) project receives €2,980,000 in EU funding and is working to develop ways to reduce their unintentional killing.
To develop methods to spare sharks, MADE researchers are combining biological and technological studies with economic analyses at a variety of sites in the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Researchers are currently analysing the data collected and exploring the potential of many options, such as:
- Closing fishing zones at times when sharks are likely to be in the area
- Defining methods to prevent sharks from being caught by hooks, such as an optimal vertical distribution of hooks or using an artificial bait
- Successfully releasing living sharks after they are captured, while ensuring the safety of fishing crews
Around 50 sharks from several species – including blue, silky and oceanic whitetip sharks – have been electronically tagged. This is providing reliable information on sharks’ behaviour and migration, for over 1600 days, that could be used to protect them. MADE researchers are also working in close cooperation with fishermen to develop alternative fishing strategies and new technologies.