By the Cuba Journal staff
Discovery Channel’s Shark Week will offer a rare look into the efforts to locate and protect sharks with the premier of “Tiburnotes: The Sharks of Cuba.”
The program, which will feature a look into Cuba’s largely unseen world and waters, airs on July 7.
Viewers will witness the first-ever use of satellite tagging by under-water handcapture on large sharks– a method known as the “fin and tonic technique” which requires no spear, hook, rope or net, but instead gently holding and cradling the sharks until they are docile.
Viewers will also watch leading American shark scientists study the animals with their Cuban colleagues in an expedition to the marine sanctuary of Gardens of the Queen National Park.
Cuba’s coral reef shark habitats are some of the most untouched in the world, and home to large populations of a variety of shark species.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is collaborating closely with Cuban officials, scientists, fishermen, and conservationists to develop a strategy for the protection of sharks and marine ecosystems, especially as Cuba begins to open up to more tourism and investment.
The Environmental Defense Fund reports that, so far, their research has found has found healthy shark populations, but also some whose numbers have declined significantly.
The EDF has also worked with Cuban fisherman to discover large numbers of juvenile oceanic whitetip sharks, an increasingly rare species which has face decimation in the waters of many other countries, including the U.S.
The organization is now looking into the development of a potential nursery ground for these sharks in Cuba.
Shark conservation in Cuba has the potential for a positive impact on populations in the U.S. and Mexico, as many sharks migrate thousands of miles for different seasons.