Compared to most other countries in the region, Qatar has made considerable headway in studies and research pertaining to sharks in its seas, feels the chairman of the UK-based Shark Conservation Society (SCS), Cornwall.
Speaking to the Gulf Times yesterday, on his ongoing Qatar Shark Research Expedition 2009, Richard Peirce revealed that in less than 10 days his team were able to locate as many 13 different shark species. This, from a sample catch of about 900 sharks up for sale at Doha Central, Al Khor and Corniche markets.
“Some of the sharks are rarely seen in Middle East region,” he said.
Peirce has carried out a similar expedition in the seas off Kuwait last year and the current mission is his second to the region.
Peirce, who has been shark research for more than 15 years, said his 13-member team had located close to 100 juvenile sharks in an area close to Ala Islands off Doha. He advised the fisheries authorities to pay more attention to protecting the area in a 3kms radius from the islands.
“The slit-eyed sharks found in Qatar are not listed anywhere in studies carried out in the region,” he said.
There was nothing to suggest the species presence in seas around Kuwait, he said. Peirce and his team had conducted extensive research in Kuwait last year.
The team carried out research on a large number of sharks in Doha and Al Khor and located some rare species.
The team has visited the seas surrounding Al Shaheen, Al Khaleej and Halul Offshore areas, Peirce said.
“Without the support of the environment department of the Qatar University, department of fisheries and Qatar Coastguards, we would not have been able to achieve the results we have till now,” Peirce stressed.
“Besides, we would have been forced to at least shell out an additional $70,000 as expedition costs,” he said. The team used a vessel owned by Qatar University for carrying out its marine activities.
The team’s scientific adviser is Alec Moore, who yesterday travelled with group to sea.
Next year, Pierce plans to explore the possibilities of conducting a similar expedition in Syria. He also has on his plans countries such as Egypt, Aden and Bahrain.
The Shark Conservation Society (SCS) seeks to further conservation through expeditions and innovative campaigns. Pierce believes the SCS is the first and only organisation at present specifically operating and campaigning from a platform of facts and practical experience.
In the last six years, Pierce has led at least half-a-dozen expeditions, each of which has achieved significant success in promoting the need for shark conservation and securing real conservation progress.
The expedition, which began on April 11, will end on May 1.
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