IWT Indonesian Sharks & Rays

Indonesia is the largest and most diverse elasmobranch fishery in the world, and the third largest trader in shark and ray products (e.g. fins). Elasmobranch products are often difficult to identify to species level, making it challenging to detect protected species being illegally traded.

PhD student Andhika Prasetyo examining 'guitarfishes' at a landing site in Indonesia.

This project aims to improve the capacity of trade regulators and law enforcement to detect illegally traded species. This will be done through the development of a national training team and improved customs procedure, which will ultimately improve the traceability and sustainability of the elasmobranch trade. The study will improve the management of traded elasmobranch products and support the development of their sustainable exploitation in the future.

Strengthened law enforcement and legal frameworks will enable the more efficient prosecution of those exercising illegal and unsustainable operating practices. Engagement with the full trade chain will provide improved education to those directly involved on how to comply with CITES sustainability goals. Improved regulation and management of elasmobranch fisheries and trade routes are fundamental for preserving marine biodiversity and for safeguarding marine ecosystem services.