In the nature, sharks and rays play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and sustainability of the marine ecosystem. As top predators, sharks control the food chain and prey on ill fish. Meanwhile, rays, especially manta rays, are being health indicators of the marine ecosystem. Data from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that Indonesia is the world's largest producer of sharks and rays. The current global exploitation of sharks and rays is alarming, as the high demand for shark fins and manta ray gills in the international market has prompted signs of overexploitation. If the existence of sharks and rays in the sea are threatened, the ocean's health will be in danger.
FRCI supports the Indonesian government efforts in shark and ray conservation and management by implementing awareness programs, research, and capacity building in shark and ray fisheries management. To build public awareness about the importance of the shark and ray conservation, FRCI with WCS Indonesia launched the #sobathiupari campaign in the form of awareness and education activities. In collaboration with various institutions, FRCI also conducts research and monitoring activities in several regions, to improve understanding of the stock health status of several threatened shark and ray species in Indonesia. To strengthen the shark and ray fisheries management and CITES implementation in Indonesia, FRCI in collaboration with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries implemented series of trainings on shark and ray identification for government institutions, businesses, and communities.