The Micronesian Shark Foundation is a non-profit, non-government organization founded in Palau to advocate shark protection and research.
The foundation was established in 2002 by Tova Harel Bornovski, Navot Bornovski and Kenneth Johnny.
The idea was to facilitate the study of sharks throughout Micronesian waters, particularly in Palau to further shark protection in Micronesia and other countries.
The Foundation was carried by the dedication and hard work of its founders.
The Government of Palau, especially Koror State, has taken a lead role in conservation management and environmental protection and have supported the Foundation right from its start.
In its dedication to science and shark protection the Micronesian Shark Foundation teamed up with The National Geographic Society, which contributed its advanced Crittercam technology under the guidance of Prof. Greg Marshall from Boston University. Phillip Lobel provided scientific leadership and advanced acoustic technology during our first project.
The main supporter through all the years of the Foundation’s existence was and is Palau’s premium dive operator Fish ’n Fins, which has supported the foundation by contributing boats and fuel, equipment, vast amounts of man hours of their staff, logistic support and a base center for the foundation. Fish ’n Fins as the foundation’s main contributor is and has been a role model in engagement in environmental protection and local community activities.
Dr. Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has spearheaded as lead scientist since 2003 and has tirelessly forwarded projects in cooperation with the Micronesian Shark Foundation. Mark MeekanDr. Gabriel Viana did most of his PHD thesis with Micronesian Shark Foundation support. Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford University is currently leading Oceanic Shark research with her team: Dr. Francesco Ferretti, Dr. Dan Madigan, Dr. Robbie Schallert, Ph. D. candidate Tim White, Ph. D. candidate Natalie Arnoldi.
Due to the exceptional conservation efforts of Palau, which declared Palau a Shark Sanctuary in 2009 and continuous efforts to protect its islands and waters, our ocean is rich with fish and healthy corals - an ideal location to collect data, which has not only relevance for Palau and Micronesia but more for the whole globe and conservation specialists and scientists internationally.
To receive third party funding for our work is a commitment not only to Micronesia and its shark research, it is a commitment to global conservation efforts and the understanding and protection of sharks worldwide.
Considering that roughly one third of all sharks (per IUCN red list) are threatened to extinction or have already disappeared from our planet makes our work more relevant and important than ever.