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From citizen science to open-source low-cost technology monitoring vs. policing of small-scale fisheries in Bangladesh (case-study: sharks and rays)
September 22 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Alifa Haque
Oxford University & National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellow
Dr. Haque completed her doctoral studies at the Nature-based Solutions Initiative in the Dept. of Biology, Oxford, with the support of a Bangabandhu Scholarship. Her research: “Towards a socially just sustainable fishery preserving sharks and rays in the Bay of Bengal”, aims to prepare a sustainability model (replicable for similar contexts in the Global South) for threatened species of sharks and rays in close conjunction with the fishing communities. It places a locally-driven, bottom-up approach from academic literature to action, a narrative absent in the current management regimes. She created a platform for research-based conservation actions collaborating with local fishers and traders to fill the dearth of knowledge on sharks and rays in Bangladesh and initiating actions for mitigating impacts. Dr. Haque launched a collaborative project involving fishers in knowledge co-creation and decision-making, which is socially just and environmentally sound. Since 2021, 10 fishing vessels voluntarily collected spatial data using a mobile app. This endeavour is a pilot for our technological innovation “FishSafe”, an audio-visual device to record by-catch events at sea. Since 2022, 5 fishing vessels are using this device. Fishers are incentivized by access to communication with other boats and land in the absence of mobile networks at sea. This will also act as a non-monetary and sustainable incentive to initiate an organized live release and self-regulated catch monitoring. Dr. Haque works at the challenging intersection of endangered species conservation and fisheries as a means of livelihood generation for fishers of Bangladesh. Her vision is to generate a context-appropriate, community-empowered and collaborative fishery model with preservation and sustainability at its core.