A new study carried out by Portuguese and Cape Verdean researchers reveals a shark nursery in the Sal Rey bay (Boa Vista island, Cape Verde): home to juveniles of several endangered species, including the iconic hammerhead shark, this is a unique region in the eastern Atlantic.
“Identifying and protecting nursery areas is crucial for the conservation of sharks, one of the most endangered animal groups in the world”, highlights Rui Rosa, researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Portugal) and lead author of this study, now published at Frontiers in Marine Science.
By monitoring the bycatch of sharks, and integrating the observations and knowledge of local fishermen, the research team evidences the consistent and preferential use of this zone by newborns of at least five shark species – all of them at imminent risk of extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“The relevance of this region is clearly recognized by the local fishing community”, adds Rui Rosa. Since it is also used by marine mammals and turtles, “the protection of Sal Rei bay will be important not only for sharks, but for the conservation of a whole diversity of highly charismatic marine organisms and for the sustainable use of the marine resources in the region”, concludes the researcher.
This study was developed within the scope of the NGANDU research project, financed by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and for the Aga Khan Development Network.