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: