By ElasmoCatch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project By ElasmoCatch focuses on the study of the biodiversity of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in Greece and its interactions with fisheries, as well as the study of their biology and ecology.

Τhe project started in 2020 with visits to coastal fishing vessels in the ports of Alexandroupolis, Kavala and Michaniona to record the catches of elasmobranchs. It continued during 2021 with visits to fishing vessels of the coastal fishery in Halkidiki with a systematic data collection on the caught and landed elasmobranchs.

In 2022, the research effort focused on the particular area of the National Wetlands Park of the Ambracian Gulf. The methodologies that were developed in previous years in the N. Aegean were implemented and fishery data were collected systematically from 340 fishing trips. For this purpose, iSea maintains a research base in Menidi, Etoloakarnania, with permanent staff all year round, as well as visiting researchers.

In 2023, the samplings of fishery data in the Ambracian Gulf continue, while in the research effort visual surveys using modified protocols are added to monitor marine biodiversity independent of fisheries. Furthermore, the trophic relations between species will be examined, the fishing activity will be mapped and biological characteristics such as growth rates will be calculated for each species.

The data that is gathered corresponds with the General Direction of Fisheries protocol. This protocol is about monitoring the by-catch of vulnerable species and it’s adapted to the needs of the area. At the same time, biological and genetic data is gathered, regarding the morphometry and reproductive maturity of the species. 

Concurrently, studies are being carried out about the effects of bycatch on the health of captured individuals. Also, their survival rate after release is calculated for each species per fishing gear using markings. In 2022 134 elasmobranchs were tagged. The application of tags -to at least 5 species of rays and 2 species of sharks- and their recaptures by the fishing community will significantly help this study on the ecology of the species in the area.

Click here to find out the steps you should follow if you locate and find a tagged shark or ray

Click here to check out the tags and the species of every ray and shark that was tagged in the area, during ByElasmoCatch project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Wetlands Park of the Ambracian Gulf
The National Wetlands Ambracian Park was established on March 21, 2008 with the Joint Ministerial Decision 11989/2008 (Government Gazette 123/΄D/21-03-2008). The declaration of the area as a National Park and the establishment of uses, conditions and restrictions, was the culmination of a long-term effort to protect it at a national level. The great biological, ecological, aesthetic, scientific, geomorphological and educational value of the area has been recognized internationally with its inclusion in the Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention (2/2/1971), with the demarcation of 4 areas of the Natura 2000 Network (with codes: GR2110001, GR2110004, GR2310006 and GR2310014), as well as from the conventions of Bern (19/9/1979), Bonn (23/6/1979) and Barcelona (16/2/1976).

Also, the entire marine area of ​​the Ambracian Gulf has been included in the NATURA 2000 network, with code GR2110001 EZD (Special Conservation Zones) – pTKS (Places of Community Importance) according to the latest revision of the National Natura 2000 List (Government Gazette 4432B/15-12- 2017).

The Ambracian Gulf is one of the most important and largest wetlands in the country. It is a semi-enclosed gulf (400 km2) that communicates with the Ionian Sea through a narrow and shallow strip of sea. On a global scale, wetlands are considered as places of great ecological and economic value with enormous biological interest. The Ambracian Gulf is one of the most complex wetlands in Greece, with 20 small and large lagoons. According to the evaluation criteria of Directive 92/43/EEC, 17 types of natural habitats are found in the National Park. The wider area of ​​the National Park is known for its exceptional importance for avifauna (more than 295 species of birds) at national and European level and is a hub for the main migratory path of many species of avifauna. There are 6 globally threatened birds in the area. At least 33 species of fish live and reproduce Ambracian gulf waters. Due to the high productivity of the bay, the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, a vulnerable conservation dependent species, winters in the area. Also, the most characteristic marine mammal of the area is the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, of which approximately 150 individuals are numbered in the area, which live permanently in the Ambracian gulf and exhibit unique behavior and ecology.

Learn more about the National Wetlands Park of the Ambracian Gulf here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actions for 2023
In 2023, the actions undertaken in the region can be divided in the following directions:

The samplings of fishery data in the Ambracian Gulf in the context of By ElasmoCatch project that started in 2022 will continue, while in the research effort visual surveys using modified protocols are added to monitor marine biodiversity independent of fisheries.

Furthermore, the trophic relations between species will be examined, the fishing activity will be mapped and biological characteristics such as growth rates will be calculated for each elasmobranch species.

The fisheries’ data that is gathered corresponds with the General Direction of Fisheries protocol. This protocol is about monitoring the by-catch of vulnerable species and it’s adapted to the needs of the area.

At the same time, biological and genetic data is gathered, regarding the morphometry, reproductive maturity and diet of the species.

Concurrently, studies are being carried out about the effects of bycatch on the health of captured individuals. 

Also, the survival rate of elasmobranchs after release is calculated for each species per fishing gear using markings. In 2022 134 elasmobranchs were tagged. The application of tags -to at least 5 species of rays and 2 species of sharks- and their recaptures by the fishing community will significantly help to study the ecology of the elasmobranch species in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals for 2023
Project's Τeam
Martina Ciprian

Martina Ciprian

Martina was born in 1998. She graduated in Biology at the University of Padova and has a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology from the same university. She started to work on the Vulnerable Species Pillar project, more specifically in the By ElasmoCatch Project during her master’s internship. 

Her main research interests are related to elasmobranchs biology, ecology, behavior, and fishery management, as well as legislation and local ecological knowledge. During her internship and after her Master’s Degree, she also collaborated on projects run by the University of Padua. She worked within the Italian Bycatch Monitoring Project. She speaks Italian and English. She is learning how to code in R and use QGIS. She has a PADI SCUBA DIVER certification, and she is starting her training for the OPEN WATER DIVER PADI and the OPEN FREEDIVING certification.

She is currently working in iSea as Project Manager in the field base of iSea (Ambracian Gulf) inside the By ElasmoCatch Project.

 

Contact information:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +39 3442456270

Scientific Advisors:

Dimitrios Moutopoulos, Carlotta Mazzoldi, Ioannis Giovos

 

External Collaborators/Advisors:

Francesco Tiralongo (trophic items & heavy metals analysis), Maria Violetta Brundo (operating unit manager of Catania)

 

Partners 

 

Funders