JCU scientist to head global shark expert group
First published 16 November 2012
James Cook University’s Dr Colin Simpfendorfer has been appointed to a four-year term as the Co-Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission’s (IUCN SSC) Shark Specialist Group.
The Shark Specialist Group was formed by the IUCN in 1991 to promote the long-term conservation of all the world's sharks and related species (skates, rays and chimaeras), effective management of their fisheries and habitats, and the recovery of depleted populations.
The Shark Specialist Group, which has more than 150 members in 12 regions around the world, assesses the status of all shark (and related species’) populations using the categories and criteria of the IUCN ‘Red List of Threatened Species’, and makes policy recommendations to halt and reverse declines.
To date, the group has classified 17 percent of these species as threatened with extinction.
Dr Simpfendorfer, from JCU’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, has been a member of the group since its inception and most recently served as Regional Vice-Chair for the Australia and Oceania Region.
“I am honoured by this prestigious appointment and eager to meet the challenges that this new IUCN role will bring,” Dr Simpfendorfer said.
“Through my work in Australia and the Unites States, both leaders in the science, management, and conservation of sharks and rays, I have been involved in some of the world’s best and only examples of recovery and fisheries management for these species and I hope to use that experience to help the Shark Specialist Group achieve its increasingly urgent mission.”
The other Co-Chair of the group, Dr Nick Dulvy from Simon Fraser University in Canada, welcomed Dr Simpfendorfer to the new role.
“Colin is one of the world’s leading shark scientists with 25 years of experience with shark research, fisheries, and conservation, and we are looking forward to benefitting from his expertise over the next four years as we work to secure a brighter future of the world’s sharks.”
Notes to Editors:
Members of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group work together to assess the threat status of sharks, rays and chimaeras, collate knowledge into scientific publications and reports and to give independent science-based advice to decision makers and management authorities. More at: http://www.iucnssg.org/
Dr Simpfendorfer received his PhD from James Cook University in 1993. He has worked as a shark research scientist at the Western Australian Department of Fisheries and Mote Marine Laboratory (in Florida, U.S.). He is currently the Director of JCU’s Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture. http://tinyurl.com/avvqxgr
Australia has completed a National Plan of Action for Sharks, and is one of the few countries that have set science-based catch limits for our many shark species. http://www.daff.gov.au/fisheries/environment/sharks/sharkplan2
For more information or interviews,contact:
Colin Simpfendorfer, +61 (0)7 4781 5287 or 0488 407 963
JCU Media contacts: Jim O’Brien, tel +61 (0)7 4781 4822 or 0418 892 449 or Caroline Kaurila +61 (0)7 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175.