Fauna & Flora International: Enforcement in Maio, Cape Verde
This project focused on the Terras Salgadas proposed MPA to the north of the island of Maio, where there were suspected important nursing grounds for nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum). Globally recorded as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List, data were critically needed to confirm the presence of nurse sharks and identify existing anthropogenic threats to encourage political endorsement and support effective enforcement for the new strict protection zone (No Take Zone) within the proposed protected area.
Fauna & Flora International collected data through a combination of fisherman interviews, in-water snorkel surveys and participatory fisher monitoring through the development of a sightings reporting system for all shark species. Awareness raising initiatives were run alongside the scientific data collection.
This project generated the first scientific data on shark sightings around Maio, and highlighted Praia Real Bay as an important breeding area for nurse sharks with records of egg cases as well as sightings of breeding aggregations and evidence of mating behavior.
Pending authorisation of the MPA zoning plan, a code of conduct for artisanal and recreational fishers active in the bay was developed to reduce the impact on shark species present, which will be distributed nationally following government approval. This project developed a critical dataset on shark species present around Maio and these data will be used to guide future marine conservation initiatives.