IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 10 February 2005. Sarah Fowler , Co-Chair of the Shark Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious conservation prizes, a US$150,000 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.
Sarah is one of five 2005 Pew Fellows, selected by an international committee for their potential to make significant contributions to protecting the world’s oceans. The award will provide three years of funding for Sarah’s work, bridging the divide between fisheries management and wildlife conservation. This gap is a major obstacle in improving the management of living marine resources.
The approximately 1,000 species of sharks, skates and rays are a particularly vulnerable group of fishes. Most species grow slowly, mature relatively late, produce a small number of young and have low natural mortality. These characteristics result in limited capacity to withstand – and recover from – over-fishing and other human impacts. Many species are now threatened with extinction, primarily as a result of fishing, which kills tens of millions of sharks every year.
The Shark Specialist Group is leading a global effort to review the threatened status of these fishes for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Over one-fifth of the species assessed so far have been classified as threatened; of these, several are Critically Endangered and may disappear entirely unless urgent measures are taken.
In addition to her leadership of the Shark Specialist Group over the past decade, Sarah has been instrumental in the work of several other shark conservation institutions, including the Shark Trust and the European Elasmobranch Association. In her role as “shark conservation central,” she has, over the past decade, driven an agenda for shark conservation and management that includes the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.
Sarah has been active in numerous arenas, including the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and has also worked to facilitate shark management at local levels through the provision of technical information and advice in many forms.
Sarah is Director of Marine and Coastal Services for Naturebureau International, based in the UK. In 2004 she was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to marine conservation.
For further information contact:
The IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group
Dr Rachel Cavanagh, Programme Officer, IUCN Shark Specialist Group, c/o TRAFFIC International, 219a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DL, UK
Tel: +44-1223-277427; Fax: +44-1223-277237
Andrew McMullin, IUCN Species Programme Communications Officer
Tel: +41 (0)22 999 0153