With the increasing relaxation of Covid-19 linked restrictions to travel and field work in February 2021, MarAlliance has finally been able to hit the ground running, and begin to make up for a year of lost field and community work. It was therefore welcome news to hear that our Executive Director Dr. Rachel Graham has been awarded a prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation that will further catalyze our field based research and conservation work.
As one of nine international conservation researchers awarded the fellowship this year, Graham will work to develop information essential to both maintain shark populations and catalyze stronger participation of coastal fishing communities in shark research and conservation in Panama.
The Pew Fellowship will help Graham collect and analyze ecological and fisheries data with communities to help pinpoint key habitats and other factors that sustain shark and ray populations in key sites in Panama, such as the Coiba National Park and World Heritage Site, and focus on wildlife species that include the critically endangered scalloped hammerhead shark. Findings will contribute to developing solutions that help shift fishing effort away from critical nursery and foraging habitats and improve the survivorship of sharks and rays. Concurrently Graham will be seeking means of strengthening the resiliency of small-scale fisheries and fishing communities to external shocks such as Covid-19 and climate change impacts. We look forward to keeping you informed with fellowship updates through the newsletters and social media.