|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Categories||Fishes, Marine, Trade|
|Date||11 Apr 2018|
Conservation efforts require enough information in order to enhance protection. We need tools capable of accurately assessing taxonomy, but also capable of providing information of provenience of carcases and body parts, and a proper understanding on species evolution and behaviour to assess the role and impact of current management practices in places with high, medium and low fisheries pressure. The use of genomics approaches within forensic fisheries, for example, is still in its infancy. Species and populations specific diagnostic markers, such as SNPs, promise a whole new perspective and increased resolution to assist fisheries management, but are still to be developed and validated for most shark species. With technology moving forward in the field of conservation genetics and genomics, and accessibility to genome resources continuously growing for non-model organisms, the opportunity to produce and manipulate genome-wide data, capable to accurately respond to the questions stated above, has exponentially increased.
Crucial information has been recently developed for the Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis). Such information has improved our understanding of connectivity, genetic diversity, and population sizes of Galapagos sharks at local, regional and global scales, and can contribute to achieve short and long-term conservation practices. Although this represents a big step for shark conservation, applied conservation tools are still needed to tackle issues such as illegal fishing. Under this premise, the proposed work intends to use the (already developed) genomics data and apply this knowledge into molecular traceability tools in the logical and much needed continuation of our work on sharks. I believe this project is a crucial step forward towards more integrative and rapid conservation measures in Galápagos sharks and elasmobranchs in general. Information from simple, non-expensive laboratory procedures to test provenience of illegal fisheries can directly be used by authorities to inform and enforce conservation policies and protect endangered species in the near future.
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