CHARACTERIZATION AND
IDENTIFICATION OF DEEP-SEA
SHARKS AND SKATES
WE INTEND TO PROMOTE AWARENESS ABOUT
DEEP-SEA SHARKS AND SKATES
FRILLED-SHARK ONE OF THE RARE
SPECIES OF DEEP-SEA SHARKS
SKATES AND SHARKS ARE
THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION
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DELASMOP

About us

More than 25% of ray and shark species (elasmobranchs) are threatened by extinction. These animals are vulnerable to various human activities such as overfishing (target or as bycatch), as they grow slowly and produce a low number of offspring in each reproductive cycle. The situation is even more worrying for deep-sea elasmobranch species, as they have slower life cycles and knowledge of their population status is difficult to assess given that they live in habitats that are difficult to access. Therefore, they are, in general, vulnerable animals and are threatened mainly by overfishing and bycatch. Many research works have been carried out in the last decades to better understand aspects of elasmobranch biology, ecology and conservation, but in general, their knowledge is still limited, and this prevents conservation actions to be proposed and effectively executed.
Thus, the DELASMOP project aims to promote the conservation of deep-sea elasmobranchs, through the development of procedures to reduce their capture and mortality resulting from crustacean bottom-trawling activities in the Northeast Atlantic, more precisely in the south and southwest coasts of Portugal. To this end, the following specific objectives were defined:

Identify the deep-sea elasmobranch species most frequently caught as bycatch in trawling activities and correlate these catches with environmental data and fishing operational procedures. This information will be cross-checked with that obtained in scientific cruises, during which it will be possible to control some catch procedures, and thus identify the fishing procedures that result in lower catches and mortalities.

To evaluate the effect of commercial trawl fisheries on the survival of deep-sea elasmobranchs. Short-term survival rates will be determined on board and through laboratory assays and long-term survival rates will be estimated by tag and
recapture data.

To assess the probability of catching different deep-sea elasmobranch species during trawling activities by combining data on their ecology with non-lethal procedures that inform on habitat use at different time scales.

Develop a guide with best practices for elasmobranch handling and fishing procedures on board, in order to reduce the number of individuals caught by trawling and their mortality after being discarded back to sea.

Organize participatory meetings with stakeholders (fishermen, associations, research institutes) to identify the main challenges and to disseminate the results obtained by DELASMOP. In order to disseminate the results to the general public, digital platforms will be used (website and social media) and dissemination activities will be carried out at scientific awareness centres in the North and South of Portugal.

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team

Team

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Partners

The DELASMOP project is the result of a partnership between the Algarve Centre for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) of the University of Algarve, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR) of the University of Porto, and the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA). It is funded by the Save our Seas Foundation and the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) and has technical support from the company OLSPS marine.

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