Instructions for sending in multiple wild shark sightings

If you have many shark sighting photos that you would like to send to us, use the attached Excel form and send this along with a zip file with your photos to sharkbaselines [at] Please make sure the img_name for each photo in the Excel file and in the zip file match exactly.
Additional instructions can be found in the Excel form:
SharkPulse multiple sightings form
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The Mediterranean’s Missing Sawfishes

The Mediterranean’s Missing Sawfishes | National Geographic.

Falling Through The Cracks: Story of the Sawfish | Stanford Woods Institute

Falling Through The Cracks: Story of the Sawfish | Stanford Woods Institute.

Capture of a large Sawfish by Raimondo Petraroja

Capture of a large Sawfish by Raimondo Petraroja

Loss of predators can destabilize marine communities

Loss of predators can destabilize marine communities | Lenfest Ocean Program.


Feature article on sharkPulse from Monterey Weekly

Monterey researcher creates SharkPulse smartphone app for shark pictures | Monterey County Weekly

SharkPulse for iPhone

Finally SharkPulse for iPhone is out! Download it from iTunes and help us take the pulse of global shark populations. SharkPulseIphone



SharkPulse is a mobile application for Android smartphones that will help us take the pulse of shark populations worldwide. By downloading the application form Google Play you could be a citizen scientist and a precious shark baseline observer. If you are an ocean goer (scientist, fisher, sailor, etc.), when you see a shark, open the SharkPulse app, take a picture, and guess the species. You will help us in delineating abundance and distribution of global shark populations.

SharkPulse is still in beta version. Please report us any error you might encounter. Your feedback will be helpful for fine-tuning the application.

Fishing drives Adriatic shark and ray declines

Picture taken from Ferretti 1911 (pag. 7). L’industria della pesca nella marina di Fano. Rivista Mensile di Pesca e Idrobiologia (1-3), 1-32.

DOI: 10.1038/srep01057

Press release from Nature Publishing Group

Marine Sciences: Fishing drives Adriatic shark and ray declines
(ItalianSpanishGerman versions)

Long-term changes in the shark and ray communities of the Adriatic Sea are assessed in a study published in Scientific Reports this week. The study shows that these communities have been highly depleted in recent years and that fishing has been a key driver of these changes.
The abundance of elasmobranchs, a group of cartilaginous fish that includes sharks and rays, can decline considerably with fishing, but assessing the drivers of community changes can be complicated by interactions between species and variations in vulnerability and exposure to fishing. The Adriatic Sea is a heavily exploited Mediterranean basin, but fisheries have developed unevenly between its eastern (Croatian) and western (Italian) sides.

Francesco Ferretti and colleagues combined and standardized catch data from five trawl surveys conducted between 1948 and 2005 to evaluate long-term trends in elasmobranch populations of the Adriatic Sea. Communities were already depleted in 1948, and since then catch rates have declined by more than 94%, with 11 species ceasing to be detected, the authors found. They report a greater abundance and diversity of elasmobranchs in the eastern Adriatic, reflecting the less intense historical and recent fishing pressure in Croatian compared to Italian waters. The exploitation history and changes in fishing pressures could explain most of the observed patterns of abundance and diversity, including the absence of strong compensatory increases, the results show.

The study suggests that careful planning and international management of developing fisheries in the Adriatic and the creation of ecological corridors and large-scale protected areas could help to promote recovery among shark and ray communities throughout this sea.
Francesco Ferretti (Stanford University, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 831 655 6251

Recommended by the Faculty of 1000!

faculty of 1000

The Faculty of 1000 is a collaboration among international scientists who offer peer review and recommendations of
articles, identifying the best research available in the fields of Biology and Medicine. And a paper by some members of the Shark Baseline Project was recently recommended!

From archives to conservation: why historical data are needed to set baselines for marine animals and ecosystems” (McClenachan L, Ferretti F, Baum JK. Conserv Lett. 2012 Jun 12:Early View) was recommended in the field of Ecology by John Pandolfi and Ruth Thurstan from the University of Queensland, Australia. The article emphasizes the use of historical data for today’s conservation efforts. You can read the full recommendation here.

Source: Thurstan R, Pandolfi J: 2012.

Securing a safe future for sawfishes


Shark and ray experts from around the world gathered on May 21-24 at the Zoological Society London to address the plight of the most threatened marine fishes in the world – the sawfishes. The group, convened by the Shark Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is breaking new ground with the development of a focused global action plan to bring these iconic species back from the brink of extinction.

Once found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world, all species of sawfish are now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. They have been revered by coastal societies throughout the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans for centuries. Today, ancient art, folklore, and mythology are almost all that is left to remind us of how widespread and abundant they were. Sawfishes are still featured on Thai postage stamps and West African currency, but the chance of seeing a sawfish in either region — or anywhere else other than the USA or Australia — is exceedingly low.

As their name suggests, sawfishes can be easily identified by their long, toothed rostra or “saws”. Long valued for medicinal and cultural purposes, and as curios, this most distinctive feature has been central to their downfall. The rostra are easily entangled in all kinds of fishing nets that are used extensively throughout the shallow coastal waters and river estuaries where sawfishes live.

Beyond this vulnerability to fishing gear, sawfishes — like other rays and sharks — are especially susceptible to overfishing because they tend to grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young. The loss of nearshore habitats that are critical for sawfish, particularly mangroves, also poses a threat to their survival, as does strong demand for their fins, which are used in the Asian celebratory dish, shark fin soup.

International trade in sawfish parts was banned through listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2007. Sawfishes are being increasingly protected in countries such as Brazil, India, Guinea Bissau, and Bahrain, but remain unprotected in other key countries within their range, such as Cuba, Madagascar, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea. Around the world, sawfish conservation is hampered by a lack of awareness, political will, and financial resources, particularly in developing countries.

IUCN Shark Specialist Group leaders will present the key results of this week’s meetings, including recommendations for priority activities, to fisheries policy makers during the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Fisheries in July, and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September, and expect to publish the final Global Sawfish Conservation Strategy in early 2013.


Please contact Lucy Harrison ( for more details.

Links to:
The IUCN Red List
The IUCN Shark Specialist Group
Sawfish page on IUCN SSG page
The IUCN Species Conservation Planning Sub-Committee

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