The current status of elasmobranch populations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean remains generally poorly known (Fowler et al. 2005). There is no data available on population status, distribution and abundance of elasmobranchs in the Dutch Caribbean.
The aim of the project is to conduct a base-line survey to describe the current elasmobranch diversity, distribution and relative abundance on inshore reefs (<50 m depth) within the territorial waters of Bonaire. The standardized BRUV base-line survey will serve as a reference point to evaluate the performance of future management actions on elasmobranchs populations. Furthermore, the base-line survey may identify elasmobranch “hot spots” and this information may be used for the design of future reserves to improve protection.
Besides the BRUV survey, a citizen science project is developed in cooperation with three dive centres: Bas Tol, East coast diving and Carib Inn. Where Carib inn only goes diving at the West coast, while Bas Tol and East coast only go diving at the East coast of Bonaire.
This goal will be reached by answering the following research question :
What is the current diversity and distribution of elasmobranch on the coastal reefs (<40m depth) of Bonaire?