What are the factors contributing to the gulper shark overfishing in the Gulf of Aden coast of Somalia?

Backed by RabatKongen and Denny Luan
East Africa University
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About This Project

The Northern coast of Somalia facing the Gulf of Aden is a hotspot of marine biodiversity. Gulper sharks which are a group of deep-water benthopelagic sharks with a worldwide distribution are among the routinely overfished in mid- and deep-water fisheries across Somalia's Gulf of Aden coast and some have shown a huge decline in their abundance. This research will look into the causes of the overfishing of gulper sharks along Somalia's Gulf of Aden coast.

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What is the context of this research?

Gulper sharks are slim, relatively long dogfishes with two dorsal fins bearing long grooved spines. They are among the most threatened deep-water sharks. They are caught as targeted catch in Somalia's Gulf of Aden fisheries, primarily for their liver oil, which is considered the most valuable of shark liver oils. In Somalia, gulper shark meat is completely avoided. So far, no research has been done in Somalia on the causes of the continued, intense Gulper shark fishery. Today, 75% of gulper sharks are assessed at a very high risk of extinction due to overfishing. I hypothesize that this study will address the causes of gulper shark overfishing and provide measures to put an end to it.

What is the significance of this project?

These critical baseline data will provide context to the intensive fishing of this endangered species, allowing fisheries managers to better understand gulper shark biology and ecology and develop sustainable practices. This study will also give a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of gulper shark species found in Gulf of Aden waters. Additionally, I'll hold side workshops and seminars to raise locals' understanding of the importance of gulper sharks to the marine environment.

What are the goals of the project?

This study's primary objective is to identify the factors contributing to the overfishing of gulper sharks along Somalia's Gulf of Aden coast. The target population, which primarily consists of gulper shark fishermen, will be interviewed in order to gather data for this qualitative research project. Lastly, I'll analyze the data I collected. On March 1st, 2024, I will begin this research and meet with gulper shark fishermen to collect data. I will also catalog gulper shark species which are mostly facing this overfishing.


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This budget primarily covers travel expenses, launching several works on community awareness towards Gulper shark conservation, establishing strong connections within the local community is paramount to the project's success.

Endorsed by

The project is an investigation on how and why the gulper shark species along the Somalian coast are overfished. Given the conserved life history of these species, managements are in urgent need. Currently, the species, catch data, and biological information are poorly studied. Therefore, the project is beneficial in providing insights into these critically endangered sharks.
As the Executive Director Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO) as well as the Chair of the South Western Indian Ocean Tuna Forum (SWIOTuna), I am excited about this research project. In my opinion it will answer some critical questions as regard the species. I therefore endorse the project

Project Timeline

The field survey is planned to launch March 2024.

Duration of the study: 12 weeks

Field report will be publish on June 2024

Results are expected to be published on a scientific journal in June 2024.

Jan 30, 2024

Project Launched

Mar 01, 2024

Research Launched 

Mar 02, 2024

Gulper shark species ID data collection in Bosaso gulper shark landing sites and I will do this species data collection once In every week. I'll start 2nd March.

Mar 15, 2024

Travel to Bosaso gulper shark fishing grounds

Apr 01, 2024

Organizing Workshop/Seminar in Bosaso

Meet the Team

Abdirahman Abdi Ali
Abdirahman Abdi Ali
Graduate student of Marine Science and Fisheries


East Africa University, Department of Marine Science and Fisheries
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Abdirahman Abdi Ali

Hi my name is Abdirahman Abdi I am a graduate student of Marine Science and Fisheries at East Africa University in Bosaso, Somalia, On the other hand, I have experience in Marine organisms identification from working as an supervisor of Project Kalluun fish data collection team under Secure Fisheries Organization during my undergraduate career and up to now, While I was working on fish data collection I started studying the diversity of marine fishes in Somalia waters. Currently, as a graduate student, this opportunity will propel me to fulfilling my career goal of being marine biologist. My interest in the study of fishes began as a teenager when I first watched ocean documentaries.

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