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The Biggest Shipment-Overview by *Made Abiyoga Udaya

Administrator’s Note: This is part 1 of the story of ReShark’s and the StAR project’s largest shipment (to date) of Zebra Shark eggs to Indonesia and Raja Ampat.

2023 proved to be a demanding year for the StAR Project team. Despite reaching pivotal milestones, and experiencing many ‘firsts’, navigating through this year of uncertainty has been nothing short of a challenge. That is not to say, however, that the year ended on a negative note; actually it ended with a BANG!

Kri’s shark nursery in North Raja Ampat

The StAR Project relies on its aquarium partners to provide eggs that can be reared in our two specialized shark nurseries. Our goals for the number of sharks to be raised and released annually has long been set, yet the drive to breed and its successful outcome, rely solely on the parent sharks. Unfortunately, this has been a rather slow reproduction year for our broodstock. Nevertheless, despite several incidents of unsuccessful copulations and production of unviable eggs, we managed to conduct 2 successful egg shipments in September and October, consisting of 2 and 1 egg respectively.  Indeed this is a small number but at the end of the day, every shark counts.

Zebra Shark egg showing the “tadpole-like” embryo.

In the past year, the Indonesian government has also taken the great initiative to streamline their permit application process by developing an online ‘national single window’, centralizing all the relevant governmental agencies into a coordinated system. But, as with all things new, navigating through the system still proved to be a rather foreign process. With the year’s end approaching, we had yet to meet our initial expectations, but we were ready to enter the new year with numerous learned lessons under our belt and with new approaches to tackling administration and operational challenges.

We had received all the eggs expected for ’23, until news broke of a potential shipment in December. Right before our team were to depart for their holidays, confirmation of 21 viable eggs was given from Cairns Marine in Australia. With a limited time window available for a shipment, and the annual permit’s expiration fast approaching, the team went into full swing in preparation for what was to be the project’s largest shipment to date.

Zebra Shark egg cases at Carins Marine, part of the 21 eggs shipped to Indonesia.

In case the magnitude of this shipment is not obvious, these 21 eggs have, almost single-handedly, put both shark hatcheries in Kri (North Raja Ampat) and Misool (South Raja Ampat) at full egg capacity – a long-awaited event consistently worked towards by the international ReShark coalition. All of the eggs were generously donated by Cairns Marine, and are part of our first translocation from a healthy wild population to Indonesia. The eggs have since safely arrived in their respective nurseries and are under the care of our aquarists.

Egg shipment being inspected by the JAQS team on arrival at the Jakarta Aquarium

Toward this milestone, the greatest acknowledgement goes out to everyone involved in the process of making this shipment successful – from the Australian shipment group, the ground team in Jakarta and Sorong for relaying the eggs, all drivers and boat captains, as well as the field teams in Raja Ampat, all dedicated to resharking our ocean.

Want to watch a video of the international ReShark team’s first look at the eggs?  Click the link below the image.

The international team seeing the eggs for the first time…including (l to r) )Dr. Mark Erdmann (VP at Conservation International, ReShark Council and StAR Project Steering Committee), Larry Squire Jr. (CEO Cairns Marine) and Drs. Lisa Hopes and Al Dove of the Georgia Aquarium.

Link to Cairns Marine reel: 

Want to keep up with the project?  Follow ReShark/StAR Project, RARCC and the Misool Foundation.
All 3 organizations plus the Bird’s Head Seascape, post frequent updates on their respective social media pages, Facebook and Insta.)

Special thanks to Lyle Squire Jr and the Cairns Marine Team for their massive contribution to the StAR project (working through a cyclone no less to get the eggs shipped!), to MAC3 Impact Philanthropies, Ocean Blue Tree and AZA SAFE for covering the costs related to this big end-of-year shipment, and to the Jakarta Aquarium and Safari team for staying up late and working hard to quarantine the eggs before their onward journey to Raja Ampat. These eggs are well-loved!”

*Made Abiyoga Udaya, from Bali, Indonesia, is the Research and Conservation Officer for Thrive Conservation, a ReShark/StAR partner.



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