It is now accepted that large, long-lived marine animals such as sharks are declining rapidly due to overexploitation and habitat degradation. Global environmental changes and human activities such as tourism and fisheries affect more seriously species with high natural longevity and low reproductive rate. Because of a lack of information about the basic ecology of many shark species, we need to improve our knowledge of the behaviour, ecology and organisation of shark populations to help in designing conservation strategies and to improve public understanding and support for shark conservation.
Due to the lack of scientific data about shark stocks and shark vulnerability, the precautionary principle was used to introduce the legislation to protect sharks in French Polynesia and to ban shark finning since the 12th April of 2006.
My shark research project in Moorea (French Polynesia) uses different techniques to study the ecology and the organisation of insular reef shark populations, mainly the sicklefin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens) and the blackfin reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) within Polynesian waters.
My main objectives are to understand patterns of populations (habitat use, social organisation, reproductive system, breeding patterns, population genetic structure) to better understand organisation of insular shark populations and to investigate their degree of vulnerability in the regards of better management plans.
This weblog presents my research activities with the aims of better understanding the organisation of insular reef shark populations in French Polynesia.