SUMMARY OF THE FOUNDATION SUNNYE COLLINS Ten years ago one man, our Founder, embodied Sylvia Earleâ€™s words. He backed his passion for sharks and the ocean with action to protect them. On 23 September 2003, the Save Our Seas Foundation was created to safeguard the future of the oceans, particularly for sharks. A tall order, to be sure, but with every project funded we make positive steps towards realising this goal. This year we celebrate a milestone: 10 years of providing financial and practical support to projects invested in improving the health of our oceans. In the past decade we have assisted more than 150 projects in 44 countries. Emerging as well as established scientists, conservationists and educators all over the world have benefited from the support of the Foundation. In return, the Foundation has been defined by the ingenuity and tireless work of the project leaders. It is easy to get bogged down in all the ways in which humans are degrading the sea. The challenge lies in being a driver of optimism. What difference can one organisation make in the vast realm of ocean conservation? We have spent the past decade trying to address this question. Though all our projects are ultimately focused on conservation, we subdivide them into three major categories: research, education and conservation. Over the years, nearly 60 marine species have been the centrepiece of our projects, of which 57% target specifically sharks. The conservation of sharks and rays is the aim of 65% of our undertakings. However, our scope of funding has expanded. While still concentrating on the overall mission, we have sponsored a wide range of marine-focused projects from satellite tagging, radio shows, travelling exhibits and lobster research to citizen science initiatives and community workshops. RESEARCH Research is the cornerstone of conservation strategy. This is why it takes up most of our funding, accounting for nearly 60% of our projects. We recognise that in order to conserve anything, you must begin by understanding it. Often we want to conserve a species or ecosystem by passing legislation, establishing a protected area or creating a programme to inform people about a specific issue.
However, none of this can happen without baseline data on species and habitats. That is why 30% of our research projects focus on gathering information about population ecology, behaviour, habitat use, migratory patterns, reproductive cycles, fishing effort and by-catch. Of the 76 research projects, 47 of them have involved the tagging and tracking of marine species. EDUCATION Between research and conservation lies education. To put it simply, information breeds knowledge; knowledge gives rise to action; and action leads to change. This is why 25% of our projects are focused on education. We have funded three exhibits, four public awareness campaigns, 16 books, six curriculumaligned education programmes, two radio shows, two websites and 15 DVDs, films and documentaries. CONSERVATION Though all our projects are conservation-minded, 19% of them have focused specifically on conservation outcomes. These have included a wide range of initiatives involving long-term reef monitoring, by-catch reduction techniques, monitoring and data collection by citizen scientists, the management of marine megafauna in the face of climate change, the protection of marine biodiversity, elasmobranch conservation strategies, combating destructive fishing methods with acoustic technology, and investigating how the media affect shark conservation policy. CENTRES The Foundation has established three centres that serve as permanent outposts from which its mission is carried out. The SOSF Shark Education Centre in South Africa, the SOSF Shark Research Center in the USA and the SOSF Dâ€™Arros Research Centre in the Seychelles continue to grow and evolve with the Foundation, functioning as hubs for cutting-edge research, conservation and education. 10