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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Kerstin Forsberg

Kerstin's project: Biological, fisheries and socio-economic assessment of three species of sharks and mobula rays in Peru

Kerstin is interested in applying multidisciplinary approaches to guide marine conservation and management. Specifically, her research interests are centered on:
• Assessment of fishery-related threats to marine biodiversity, particularly overfishing and bycatch, and investigating solutions to these challenges.
• Integrating biological, fisheries and socio-economic studies that can support both ecosystem-based management and conservation of top marine predators.
In addition, Kerstin is especially interested in the power of engaging citizen scientists and local communities in each of these efforts.

Kerstin's ultimate research goal is to achieve information that can model sustainable economic activities, environmental awareness and policy. With this focus, she founded Planeta Océano, a non-profit committed to conserving and restoring coastal and marine environments in Peru by engaging local communities in research, environmental education and sustainable development initiatives. With Planeta Océano, Kerstin has reached thousands of people and has been recognized as one of Forbes' top "30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs", acknowledged with the WWF International President's Award, among others.

With her postgraduate research, Kerstin now aims to help fill knowledge gaps and articulate socio-economical, biological and fisheries considerations to contribute to management and conservation of elasmobranchs in Peru:

Elasmobranchs constitute an important fishery resource in Peru. However, main commercially exploitable species (e.g. Prionace glauca, Isurus oxyrinchus, Mustelus whitneyi, Carcharhinus brachyurus, Myliobatis peruvianus, Squatina californica, Alopias vulpinus, Sphyrna zygaena) are considered Vulnerable, Near Threatened or Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Landings of less commercially-valuable species, yet of high conservation value, include mobula rays (Mobula spp.). Despite socio-economic importance of shark and ray fisheries, little is known on (i) these species' biology, population size and structure, (ii) on their interaction with fisheries and markets, and on (iii) the local stakeholder's perceptions towards conservation; creating barriers for adequate conservation and management.

Kerstin's research project aims to provide a comprehensive biological, fisheries and socio-economic assessment of three species of sharks and mobula rays in Peru by:
(1) Increasing understanding on biology, population size and structure for each species;
(2) Assessing target fishing effort and bycatch; and
(3) Evaluating market dynamics and community perceptions towards shark and ray conservation.
This comprehensive approach seeks to generate information to contribute shark and ray conservation, and provide a timely multi-disciplinary model that could be replicated to other species or geographical areas.


Prof. Rupert Ormond (CMBB, Heriot-Watt University)
Prof. Hamish Mair (CMBB, Heriot-Watt University)




Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Location:                    School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS