Patroba Matiku

My interest in aquatic science started early, as I grew up fishing in Lake Victoria in Tanzania along with other young children of my age. Even before I started school, I became aware of various different fish species. This made me eager to learn more about the biology of fishes and their environments, as well as ecological systems in general. After graduating from secondary school, I was persuaded to pursue studies in fisheries for my Bachelor and Master’s degrees. I wanted to learn about the creatures of the sea, most of which differ from freshwater species. Immediately after my studies, I was employed by the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) and assigned duties in the Indian Ocean. That is how I found myself involved for the first time in marine fisheries research and coastal conservation. In the course of my research I would sometimes come across various ray species. However, I was aware that, apart from encounters such as these, especially during marine expeditions, there are still large gaps in our knowledge of these species. It was this that pushed me into conducting intensive research on rays to provide accurate scientific information about their biology and to what extent they are fished, so that effective measures can be undertaken to protect them.