My interest in aquatic organisms began at an early age as I lived on the eastern Mediterranean coast at Gaza and learned to love the ocean. The sea has been a happy place for me since I learned how to deal with strong waves at the age of 11. This was reinforced and became my focus when I was studying for my undergraduate and graduate degrees and my interest in marine and coastal studies developed. My PhD at the University of London fixed the course I would follow: to protect and conserve marine creatures and their habitats.
My current research on sharks and rays has become everything to me. As someone said recently, ‘Mobula rays and Mohammed are busy thinking about each other all day.’ Everywhere – at home, work and university – I never stop talking about mobula rays and what we should do to protect them in Gaza and let them enjoy their visit to the eastern Mediterranean in safety. I am enjoying this work and everyone knows it – my family, friends and the fishing communities I work with. This has given me tremendous support and encouragement.