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The Gulf Elasmo Project is an initiative aimed at gaining a better understanding of elasmobranch species, abundance and distribution in the Arabian region. The project was started as part of a PhD study lead by Rima Jabado in the United Arab Emirates. Results from her research indicated that elasmobranchs in the UAE were being targeted not only for local consumption but also for the trade in shark products (especially fins and meat). Her study clearly showed that many  species were being heavily exploited and that the fishery was unsustainable. While there are some regulations and management measures across the region to protect certain species, data on most elasmobranchs remains sparse and there is still a lack of understanding of the conservation status of these animals. It is likely that without accurate and scientifically based information to support conservation measures, governments in the region will not prioritise elasmobranch protection.

The ‘Gulf’ which refers here to the broader Arabian Seas region including the Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian/Persian Gulf remains understudied with very little research being undertaken on the status of the various elasmobranch stocks. In the past decade alone, with a few projects, range distributions of documented species have been expanded as new data emerged while new species are still being discovered. Sighting reports through citizen science play a crucial role in monitoring shark and batoid populations in this part of the world by helping evaluate species diversity, abundance and habitat range. Individuals can now help support conservation efforts by reporting their encounters with these animals either underwater or at landing sites.

Click here to download the Gulf Elasmo Project Brochure: GEP_Brochure

Click here to download the “Sharks of the Arabian Seas: An Identification Guide” to help you identify your sharks: http://www.gulfelasmoproject.com/species-information.html

Visit the Project’s Website to find out how to send your data: http://www.gulfelasmoproject.com

Check out the Project’s Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL1eo2cd9ag