Ocean First Institute Receives Sea of Change Foundation Grant for Shark and Ray Research in Costa Rica

By Ocean First Institute 29/03/2018

Scientific Research

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"The goal of establishing a protected area while integrating the knowledge and assistance of divers is central to our mission and to successful conservation." - Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation and Outreach for the Sea of Change Foundation

 

In an on-going effort to support marine conservation across the scuba diving community, the Sea of Change Foundation is pleased to support the Ocean First Institute’s shark and ray conservation project in Costa Rica.

 

The $20,000 one-year grant will support a marine census of sharks and rays in the Tropical East Pacific at two sites on the northwest coast of the Guanacaste region. The area is home to whale sharks, bull sharks, and giant manta rays, along with several ray species that are relatively unknown to science. These sites are currently threatened by unregulated and expanding destructive fishing practices. The goal of the project is to document the presence, abundance, and seasonality of these species to aid in the future, potential creation of a marine protected area.

 

 

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, the Director of Ocean First Institute, who will lead the project, said, “The Institute is grateful for support from The Sea of Change Foundation who shares the vision and urgency of ocean conservation. Our work will help identify which species in this area are present and which ones need protection. It will also train local divers to conduct underwater surveys and contribute their findings to our online global shark and ray database. Our database is a citizen science portal that engages divers to participate in conservation and will directly expand the scope and reach of our research.”

 

“This important study area includes the Catalina and the Bat Islands which are popular destinations for local and international divers. The goal of establishing a protected area while integrating the knowledge and assistance of divers is central to our mission and to successful conservation, “ said Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation and Outreach for the Sea of Change Foundation.

 

 

It is the hope of the Board of Directors of the Sea of Change Foundation that this project will inspire the global dive community to support conservation for divers by divers. Importantly, “through our Foundation, 100% of donations go directly to such conservation initiatives to ensure future generations of divers can also experience the sea and its wonders,” concluded Wayne Brown, CEO of Aggressor Fleet® and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

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About the Sea of Change Foundation: The Sea of Change Foundation funds marine conservation and research initiatives that directly impact the oceans we all love to dive and explore. Our mission is to create positive change for the oceans. Learn more about and donate to the Sea of Change Foundation here: www.seaofchange.com, or email thankyou(at)seaofchange.com.

 

About Ocean First Institute: Ocean First Institute is a non-profit organization with the mission of ocean conservation through research and education. We work to protect the ocean from its many threats. Through scientific research, we develop innovative solutions while also educating youth to take positive action for the environment through outreach programs. Learn more about Ocean First Institute here: www.oceanfirstinstitute.org, or email info(at)oceanfirstinstitute.org.

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