Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has launched the Global Fin Print, an environmental and scientific endeavor that will spend the next three years documenting the health of shark and ray populations in the world’s oceans and coral reefs. The project will not only count sharks, it will also help to create a list of sharks and areas around the world that would benefit from conservation efforts. The project will be overseen by the foremost experts on shark research, including Demian Chapman, Mike Heithaus, Coli Simpfendorfer, Miclelle Heupel, Mark Meekan and Aaron MacNeil. Universities that will assist in the project include Florida International University (Miami, FL, US), Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY, US), Australian Institute of Marine Science (Queensland, AU), and James Cook University (Townsville City, AU).
Scientists will visit areas that are already well researched as well as areas that may have not had been analyzed before.
The researchers will look not only at issues that immediately have negative impacts on shark populations, such as shark finning and overfishing; it will also gather data on the effects of such issues as coral reef bleaching and effects of hurricanes. The data will be available to others in the field, including those who collect data on shark populations in countries around the world as well as non-profits that can use the data to better target funding received for conservation efforts.
The goal of the Global Fin Print is to learn the status of reef shark populations around the world and to understand the importance that the contributions these animals have on the overall health of coral reefs and the millions of people around the world who rely on the reefs both socially and economically.