An international team of scientists, conservationists, commercial dive operators and government agencies is expanding efforts to eavesdrop on sharks off Palau.
The first of its kind in the waters of Micronesia, a 14-station array of acoustic devices monitors movement, migration and mating in support of Palau’s effort to conserve and protect sharks within its exclusive economic zone.
The array was established by the Micronesian Shark Foundation, Save Our Seas Foundation and Australian Institute of Marine Science. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System is increasing the density and geographic range of stations with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide a more precise and complete picture of shark movement in the Micronesian archipelago.
A sentinel species important for ensuring the health of the ocean ecosystem, shark populations worldwide are threatened by illegal fin fishing and a shifting climate says Chris Ostrander, PacIOOS director.
The expanded array in Palau also will be able to monitor more than sharks, including animals such as manta rays and dugong, a large marine mammal related to manatees.