Alifa Bintha Haque

Marine biologist focused on sustainable fisheries and conserving sharks and rays in the Bay of Bengal
Alifa teaches at the Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, where she serves as the team leader at the Bengal Elasmo Lab. She instructs undergraduate and post-graduate courses and conducts marine research under this umbrella. Alifa has recently completed her doctoral studies at the Nature-based Solutions Initiative in the Department of Biology, Oxford, with the support of a Bangabandhu Scholarship. Her research, titled “Towards a socially just sustainable fishery preserving sharks and rays in the Bay of Bengal,” aims to prepare a sustainability model (replicable for similar contexts in the Global South) for threatened species of sharks and rays in close conjunction with the fishing communities. It places a locally-driven, bottom-up approach from academic literature to action, a narrative absent in the current management regimes.

Alifa has created a platform for research-based conservation actions collaborating with local fishers and traders to fill the dearth of knowledge on sharks and rays in Bangladesh and initiating actions for mitigating impacts. She launched a collaborative project involving fishers in knowledge co-creation and decision-making, which is socially just and environmentally sound. Since 2021, 10 fishing vessels voluntarily collect spatial data using a mobile app. This endeavor is a pilot for the technological innovation “FishSafe,” an audio-visual device to record by-catch events at sea. Since 2023, 05 fishing vessels are piloting this technology. Fishers are incentivized by access to communication with other boats and land in the absence of mobile networks at sea. This will also act as a non-monetary and sustainable incentive to initiate an organized live release and self-regulated catch monitoring.

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