Our projects

Mediterranean sharks

We are improving the conservation status of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean by developing an effective coalition that brings together NGOs, universities, researchers, investigators, film makers and policy experts. 

Known collectively as elasmobranchs, sharks and rays play a crucial and varied role in a healthy ocean. Apex predators keep the food pyramid steady; rays support the complexity of sea-bed ecosystems; devil rays transfer nutrients and energy from the depths of the sea to the surface.  

Elasmobranchs need to be managed as carefully as any other fisheries resource – and this need has never been more acute than it is today. Of the 73 species of assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, over half are threatened and 27 per cent are critically endangered. 

In the Mediterranean Sea, 21 species of elasmobranchs are protected under the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), and the trade in shark species under the CITIES convention. However, the conservation status of a majority of sharks here is going from bad to worse. Fish markets are poorly regulated in both EU and non-EU states. Bycatch is high and often shark and ray meat is sold fraudulently as other white fish.   

Blue Marine already supports specific shark conservation projects in Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Greece, Tunisia and the Strait of Sicily. Now we have a wider plan to

The goals of the project include sampling key fish markets in Europe, Turkey and north Africa to provide evidence of protected species being landed. Vast amounts of verified geo-located images, videos and information from interviews are being collated on a data platform from fish markets in Tunisia.  

We also aim to gather scientific data through market surveys and undertake sampling and tagging programmes to better understand the ecology of Mediterranean elasmobranch species.  We intend to identify key biodiversity areas for sharks and rays and drive the designation of marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect areas crucial for feeding, spawning and migration.   

To support these changes Blue Marine will launch a media campaign to put pressure on key decision-makers to take the shark-fishing situation seriously, and on countries to enforce management measures. This will include an investigation into the impending extinction of certain species, including Great White sharks, that will be the basis of a documentary film to highlight the gravity of the situation. 

Mediterranean sharks

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By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting Blue Marine, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.


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