UK Fishermen to be Shark Identification Experts

Written by on January 7, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law, Sharks
Starry smooth hound shark (Mustelus asterias).

Starry smooth hound shark (Mustelus asterias)-one of the at-risk species the fishers will learn to identify. Photo © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Co-operative, The Shark Trust, and the commercial fishing industry of the UK have joined together to train fishermen in shark identification.

This plan will help protect at-risk shark, skate and ray species by improving recordings of species caught as bycatch. The project involves teaching fishers the importance of recording specific species instead of simply writing that they caught a shark or ray. By gathering more specific data, officials will be able to manage stocks more sustainably.

Ali Hood, Director of Conservation at The Shark Trust explained that many shark populations in the North and Irish seas have declined dramatically in recent years.

Co-operative sustainable development manager Chris Shearlock explains that because “little importance has traditionally been given to shark stocks compared to more commercial species, detailed information for individual species is hard to ascertain.”

“We are providing species identification training with a range of support materials to ensure sharks, which are vital to the health of our fisheries, receive the level of protection they need,” Shearlock said.

Cuckoo ray (Leucoraja naevus).

Cuckoo ray (Leucoraja naevus)-one of the at-risk species the fishers will learn to identify. Photo credit: Shandchem via photopin cc

To learn more about shark identification:

Small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula).

Small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula)-one of the at-risk species the fishers will learn to identify. Photo © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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