Sharks and Rays in Greece and Cyprus

Sharks and rays have been present on earth for nearly half a billion years, with more than 1,200 extant species. The pivotal importance of cartilaginous fish for marine ecosystems is highlighted by the fact that most shark and some ray species constitute top predators, thus possess central and stabilizing functions in marine food webs.

Based on the latest report of IUCN at least half of the rays (50%, 16 of 32 species) in the Mediterranean Sea face an elevated risk of extinction, as well as 54% of sharks (22 of 41). The principal driver for this is overfishing along with the life history characteristics of these species (low reproductive, slow growth rates, and long life span).

In Greek Seas at least 67 species of cartilaginous fish are present but existing knowledge on their distribution, ecology, and biology is still limited. In Cyprus, studies related to the presence/biology of cartilaginous fish are limited and deficient. Around 30 species of cartilaginous fish have been reported to be present in Cypriot waters to date. The M.E.C.O. (Mediterranean Elasmobranchs Citizen Observations), is a Mediterranean initiative, which aims to create a network of Mediterranean elasmobranch sightings data, through a collaboration between different teams in various countries, to better understand the occurrence, seasonality and distribution of elasmobranchs in this region. You can find our other Mediterranean collaborators here:


How to participate


SEAlly© is a citizen science tool, which allows fishers, port authorities, divers and all sea lovers to record sea turtle and/or shark sightings in the Mediterranean Sea. You can find more here

Informative Material in Greek

  1. Conservation Status and Protection Measures for Sharks species in the Greek Seas

Press release

Scientific Publications

  • Bakiu, R., Cakalli, M., Giovos, I. (2018). The first record of bigeyed sixgill shark, Hexanchus nakamurai Teng, 1962 in Albanian waters. Journal of the Black Sea/ Mediterranean Environment 24(1): 74-79.
  • Lapinski, M., & Giovos, I. (2019). New records of the critically endangered Squatina squatina (Linnaeus, 1758) from Corsica, France. Acta Adriatica: international journal of Marine Sciences60(2), 205-209.
  • Chatzispyrou, A., Aroni, M., Lefkaditou, E., Kapiris, K., Giovos, I., Anastasopoulou, A. (2018). Some biological information on a female kitefin shark, Dalatias licha (Bonnaterre, 1788) stranded in the Laconikos gulf of Greece (SE Ionian Sea). Turkish Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Science 19(12): 1069-1072.
  • Giovos, I., Cakalli, M. (2017). The first record of the Bigeye Thresher Alopias superciliosus in Albanian waters. Mediterranean Marine Science, Collective A, 18(3): 534-556.
  • Giovos, I., Chatzispyrou, A., Doumpas N., Stoilas, V.S., Moutopoulos D.K. (2018). Using unconventional sources of information for identifying critical areas for the endangered guitarfish in Greece. Journal of the Black Sea/ Mediterranean Environment 24(1): 38-50
  • Giovos, I., Stoilas, V.S., Al Mabruk, S.A.A., Doumpas, N., Marakis, P., Maximiadi, M., Moutopoulos, M., Kleitou, P., Tiralongo, F., de Maddalena, A. (2019). Integrating local ecological knowledge, citizen science and long-term historical data for endangered species conservation: New records of Angel Sharks (Chondrichthyes: Squatinidae) in the Mediterranean Sea. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 29(6): 881-890.
  • Keramidas, I., Ugarkovic, P., De Madalenna, A., Giovos, I. (2019). Additional record of Lamna nasus (Bonnaterre, 1788) from Croatia, Adriatic Sea. Journal of the Black Sea/Mediterranean Environment, 25(1): 87-92
  • Mancusi, C., Baino, R., Fortuna, C., De Sola, L., Morey, G., Bradai, M., Kallianotis, ... Serena, F. (2020). MEDLEM database, a data collection on large Elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean and Black seas. Mediterranean Marine Science, 0. doi:

Communications in Conferences

  • Al-Mabruk, S.A.A., Giovos, I. (2019). Citizen Science and Social Media as a tool for monitoring Angel Sharks in the Mediterranean. Workshop for the Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan, Tunis 25-27 March 2019.
  • Al-Mabruk, S.A.A., Rizgalla, J., Giovos, I. (2019). Preliminary evidences of illegal elasmobranch fishing in Libya. 23th Annual Conference, European Elasmobranch Association, Rende 16-18 October 2019.
  • Barash, A., Shallingre, S., Kleitou, P., Stoilas, V.O., Giovos, I. (2017). A collaboration for mapping the Mediterranean’s elasmobranchs by public participation through social media. 21st European Elasmobranch Association Scientific Conference 12-14 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Barash, A., Salingre, S., Grosmark, Y., Rothman, S., Stoilas, V.S., Maximiadi, M., Tuncer, S., Lapinski, M., Nuez, I., Bakiu, R., Kleitou, P., Giovos, I. (2018). The MECO project (Mediterranean Elasmobranch Citizen Observations): creating a large scale database of elasmobranchs' observations using social media. 22nd Annual European Elasmobranch Association Meeting, Peniche, Portugal.
  • Chatzispyrou, A.,  Anastasopoulou, A. (2018). A Devil not so evil: new data from a female Mobula mobular (Bonnaterre, 1788) caught in Greece. 22nd Annual European Elasmobranch Association Meeting, Peniche, Portugal.
  • Keramidas, I., Azrieli, B., Kleitou, P., Maximiadi, M., Stoilas, V.S., Giovos, I. (2018). Guitarfishes in Cyprus: shedding light on the occurrence and the distribution of two endangered species in the Eastern Mediterranean. MARFRESH 2018, First International Marine & Freshwater Sciences Symposium, Antalya, Turkey.
  • Naasan Aga, R., Giovos, I., Kleitou, P., Christidis, A., Lanjeneck, J., Kalogirou, S. (2019). Preliminary results on the distribution extension of five data-limited fish species in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. 14th ICZEGAR, Thessaloniki, 27-30 June 2019.
  • Theodorou, I., Giovos, I., Moutopoulos, I. (2019). Angel Sharks (Chondrichthyes: Squatinidae)  in the Mediterranean Sea. Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC) Subregional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean (SRC-EM) FAO HQ, Rome, (Italy), 18 – 19 March 2019.

Research Team

Project managers: Ioannis Giovos, Roxannie Naasan Aga Spyridopoulou, Periklis Kleitou

Data Management:Ioannis Giovos, Roxannie Naasan Aga Spyridopoulou

Data Collection: Mary Maximiadi, Alexandros Kaminas, Athanasios Anastasiadis, Periklis Kleitou