Geneva, 29th of June 2020 – Since 2003, the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) has been dedicated to protecting life in our oceans, especially sharks and rays. To do this, the philanthropic organisation invests in research, conservation and education projects led by passionate and innovative researchers from around the globe. This year the SOSF has launched nearly 30 new projects in addition to its current roster.

‘Our newly expanded network of grant recipients represents some of the most creative minds working in marine research and conservation globally,’ says Dr James Lea, the SOSF’s chief executive officer. ‘As a collective, project leaders have focused their work primarily on shark, skate, ray and sawfish species, many of which are listed as endangered and continue to feel intense pressure from human activities worldwide.’

In the Small Grants category, 20 new applicants have received funding. Aimed at original and innovative start-up projects, these $5,000 grants are awarded annually to early career scientists, conservationists and educators working on short, specific and finite projects. Seven new projects have been awarded Keystone Grants, which support larger initiatives for up to three years and average $25,000 each per year.

‘Sharks and rays are essential for the health and well-being of our oceans, helping to maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem,’ explains the Founder of the SOSF, His Excellency Abdulmohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh. ‘If we lose them, it could have significant unforeseen consequences, including the collapse of certain fisheries and the loss of essential marine habitats. The SOSF will continue to help ensure the sustainable future of sharks and rays by investing in projects that will raise awareness, increase knowledge, conserve declining populations and communicate the importance of this exceptional class of fish.’

From Juan Cubillos Moreno’s work collecting environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in Colombia’s estuaries and mangroves to search for elusive largetooth sawfishes to Emily Humble’s project that will develop a species-specific management plan to protect endangered guitarfishes in Sri Lanka, and Brendan Talwar’s efforts to satellite-track sharks on the high seas, the projects chosen represent a global endeavour to protect charismatic marine biodiversity. Some of the key issues that the projects aim to tackle include fisheries mismanagement and by-catch, population monitoring, genetics and the effects of marine pollution on wildlife.

Project leaders chosen by the SOSF’s Scientific Committee will become part of the strong marine research andconservation legacy the organisation is known for. Since its inception, the Foundation has funded more than 300 projects in over 60 countries. This work has generated valuable information about more than 110 species. To learn more and follow project news, visit the Project Leader story section here and follow the SOSF on social media.

Find out more about this year’s grant recipients and their projects.