1st Edition of “Oceans’ Conservation FUND” awards 100,000 Euros

The Oceano Azul Foundation and Oceanário de Lisboa award projects for the conservation of rays and sharks


Today Oceanário de Lisboa and the Oceano Azul Foundation awarded 100,000 euros to the best projects for the conservation of rays and sharks. The 1st “Ocean Conservation FUND” on the theme of “Rays and sharks. From darkness to the light of science.” rewarded three projects, selected from 23 entries.

The projects selected stand out for the excellence of their proposals with regard to the conservation of rays and sharks. This group of cartilaginous fish is slow-growing, with late sexual maturity and a low number of offspring. The combination of these characteristics means that their capture, commonly as bycatch, places them in a highly delicate situation in terms of conservation and they are one of the most globally threatened groups of fish.

For João Falcato, CEO of Oceanário de Lisboa and Director of the Oceano Azul Foundation, “There is an urgent need to join forces for ocean conservation. Through this FUND, the Oceanário and the Oceano Azul Foundation reinforce their mission by promoting knowledge about these animals, contributing to more efficient and effective conservation and helping to maintain the existing biodiversity”.

The winning projects in this 1st “Ocean Conservation FUND” were:

  • IslandShark – Oceanic islands as Essential Habitat for Sharks | University of the Azores/OMA – Observatório do Mar dos Açores;
  • FindRayShark – Applying innovative technologies to the conservation of rays and sharks | MARE- Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente;
  • Shark Attract – Sharks and rays conservation by enhancing awareness within fishermen communities and society | MARE- Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente.

The three winning projects address different topics, from habitats and ecosystems, to conservation technology and the involvement of civil society. Overall, these projects will have a significant impact on the development of competence and capabilities in the protection of rays and sharks.

The projects selected met all the strict evaluation criteria of the prestigious international jury that helped Oceanário de Lisboa and the Oceano Azul Foundation to bestow the award. The high quality of the entries submitted was behind the decision to choose three winners. The members of the jury were:

  • Sarah Fowler, Founding Trustee of the Shark Trust, former Co-Chair of the Shark Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, principal scientist of the Save our Seas Foundation.
  • Paul Cox – Director of the Shark Trust
  • Simon Pierce – Co-founder and principal scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation and also member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.

Find out everything about the winning projects at oceanario.pt