European Elasmobranch Association Conference 2024

EEA 2024 IN THESSALONIKI
IMPORTANT DATES

This year’s annual EEA conference will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 22nd to 24th of October, by the Environmental Organisation iSea, with the aim to bring together the scientific community and other stakeholders working with sharks, rays and chimaeras around Europe and the Mediterranean.


The EEA 2024 Conference topic is “Stronger collaboration for better conservation” focusing to bring together not only an increased number of experienced scientists and other stakeholders from different fields of shark and ray research and conservation, but also give an advanced role to younger researchers that will have the opportunity to better meet the EEA community and the most recent results of their work. This year’s aim is also focused on increasing the participation and the scientific input from data-poor areas and countries that are not highly represented within the EEA community and thus researchers from the Balkans, Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will be invited and encouraged to participate.

EEA 2024 and its overall content; panels, workshops and keynote speakers, were built on the common values of diversity, equity and community, that EEA members share.

We look forward to hosting you during the 3-day conference for which the agenda and events aim to scale up elasmobranch conservation through the establishment of stronger collaborations!

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Following last years’ experience with keynote sessions, this year we expanded the idea and the agenda of the EEA Conference 2024 is built on 5 keynote sessions of panel discussions. Each session will be 40 minutes long and includes 5 speakers, from senior to young scientists, discussing different key topics of sharks, rays and chimaeras conservation amongst them and in interaction with the audience.

Find our keynote speakers and the overall agenda details on the content of each session below.

The list is progressively updated!

KEYNOTE PANEL 1: Biology and ecology of sharks, rays and chimaeras

Yannis P. Papastamatiou

Yannis P. Papastamatiou

USA

Affiliation: Florida International University

Yannis P. Papastamatio has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, a MSc  in Biology from the California State University at Long Beach and a BSc in Oceanography with Marine Biology from the University of Southampton in the UK. He’s an Associate Professor in the Florida International University since 2016. Some of his peer reviewed publications include 113 publications in Nature, Science, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Ecology Letters, Ecology, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Journal of Animal Ecology etc. He’s also an author of 6 book chapters and an editor in Oecologia and Animal Biotelemetry.

His field skills include SCUBA diving (PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, AAUS Scientific diver, NAUI Closed circuit rebreather mixed-gas diluent, NSS CSD Full cave diver) and First Aid (DAN Diving Medical Technician).

Jenny Bortoluzzi

Jenny Bortoluzzi

Ireland

Affiliation: Trinity College Dublin

Jenny Bortoluzzi is a French/British national currently living in Dublin (Ireland) where she completed her PhD at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2023 using an interdisciplinary approach to study the ecology, biology and conservation of blue sharks and porbeagles. She has since gone on to work for the IUCN Shark Specialist Group on the Important Shark and Ray Project, followed by a position as a Teaching and Research Fellow back in the Department of Zoology at TCD. She has been an ambassador for Sharks4Kids since 2019 and is a passionate science communicator. Her research interests lay in using transdisciplinary approaches to identifying critical habitats of elasmobranchs to inform policy, management and conservation.

Marco Milazzo

Marco Milazzo

Italy

Affiliation: University of Palermo

Dr. Marco Milazzo is Professor of Ecology and Head of the Marine Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at the University of Palermo (Italy). He conducts research on fish ecology and conservation, with a focus on the effects of marine protected areas and anthropogenic activities, and a look at environmental change in shallow ecosystems. He combines underwater visual censuses, diver-operated and baited remotely operated underwater video systems, line-mounted cameras, eDNA and fishery landing techniques to achieve his research goals. In recent years, Marco and his fantastic collaborators have pioneered the study of two seasonal aggregations of sandbar sharks and common eagle rays in southern Italy, as well as contributing to achieving conservation and management gains by assessing the interactions of underwater tourism activities, small-scale and pelagic fisheries, with aggregations of endangered elasmobranchs and other megafauna in the Mediterranean region.

KEYNOTE PANEL 2: Bycatch and the socioeconomic importance of shark and ray fisheries

Caroline Bousquet

Caroline Bousquet

France

Affiliation: Environment Agency of Corsica & Angel Shark Project Corsica

Caroline is a French marine biologist who earned her MSc in Ecology and Biodiversity Management from the University of Montpellier. Choosing a general background in Ecology for her degree, she gained experience in marine sciences through academic exchanges and internships at institutes such as the University College of Cork (Ireland), Macquarie University (Australia) or the Flanders Marine Institute (Belgium). She worked 5 years at the University of Corsica where she worked on small-scale-fisheries and developed projects on sharks and rays, including the Angel Shark Project: Corsica. She now works at the Environment Agency of Corsica and as a consultant with the Angel Shark Project.

Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos

Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos

Greece

Affiliation: Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Patras

Professional background for more than 15 years concerns three main areas of interest; scientific research, education and administration. Scientific research associated with fish and fisheries resources, data handling (through statistical analyses and programming) of large database of quantitative and qualitative information of marine and transitional waters, recovering of historical time series of fisheries data, conventional (field studies) and non-conventional (citizen-science techniques, social media, expert judgement) methods for the collection of biological and fisheries-related information and the sustainability of protected and endangered species of top megafauna that interact with fisheries.

Samira Enajjar

Samira Enajjar

Tunisia

Affiliation: Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer

Samira Enajjar is a marine biologist in the Marine Biodiversity laboratory of the National ‎Institute of Science and Technology of the Sea (INSTM) in Tunisia. Since ‎‎2000, she conducts research on eco-biology, biodiversity, fishery, mitigation measures, and systematic of ‎elasmobranchs mainly in batoids in the Gulf of Gabès (GSA 14). ‎Her Ph.D interested in systematic, eco-biology and fishery of the Rhinobatids ‎family in the area. ‎She contributed to the elaboration of Vulnerable Marine Vertebrate Training ‎Manuals. She is also a member of the Med-bycatch project as a supervisor and ‎expert on the elasmobranchs group. She is regularly engaged in training courses ‎related to systematic of batoids in many other national and regional projects. ‎She participated in the elaboration of the Regional Action Plan of the ‎Mediterranean Angel Sharks and the SubRegional Action Plan (SubRAP) of the GSA 12, 13 and 14 (Central Mediterranean Sea).

KEYNOTE PANEL 3: Working in data-poor areas

Ilija Ćetković

Ilija Ćetković

Montenegro

Affiliation: Laboratory of Ichthyology & Marine Fisheries at the Institute of Marine Biology.

Ilija Ćetković was born on August 11, 1994 in Kotor (Montenegro). He graduated in biology at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics of the University of Montenegro in 2017, and finished his master’s and PhD studies in the same field and university. He has been employed as a research assistant in the Laboratory of Ichthyology and Marine Fisheries at the Institute of Marine Biology (Kotor, Montenegro) since April 2017. Although he participates in various projects and studies related to fisheries management and monitoring, his primary research interest concerns the biology, ecology and by-catch monitoring of elasmobranchs. He is the author or co-author of several research papers related to these vertebrates, which mainly describe their status and occurrence in the waters of Montenegro (Southeastern Adriatic Sea).

Sara Al Mabruk

Sara Al Mabruk

Libya

Affiliation: Marine Biology in Libya Society

Sara Al Mabruk, a marine researcher with a master’s degree, focuses on marine conservation in the Southern Mediterranean, specifically the Libyan Sea. As the co-founder of the Marine Biology in Libya Society and project manager of the Angel Shark Project in Libya, Sara’s main interests lie in elasmobranchs. She collaborates with marine biology organizations to raise knowledge and awareness among Libyan citizens about threatened sharks and rays in Libyan waters.

Mahmoud Farrag

Mahmoud Farrag

Egypt

Affiliation: Al-Azhar University

Dr. Mahmoud Farrag has a Ph.D. in Marine Biology, (Biology & Ecology of Fishes, 2015) and has obtained a Post-doctoral at Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin, Germany in 2019. Some of the fields of experience include: Taxonomy, Biodiversity, Fish biology, Population dynamics, Fisheries Management, Marine Ecology, Aquaculture (Fresh and integrated systems),  Aquatic toxicology, Projects management, Society development and Sustainable development.
He’s an environmental consultant for the environment and biodiversity in the Ministry of the Environment in Egypt. He’s also an expert and consultant (Environmental and Water Resources) at the Egyptian Syndicate of Scientific Professions in Egypt.

Dr. Mahmoud Farrag is a member of ICCAT group of Egypt (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, Madrid, Spain) Credited by AGENCY (LFRPDA) and a committee member at the National Committee of the Oceanography & Fisheries, Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) in Egypt. He’s an expert in Water Resources Management in FAO, GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. Dr. Farrag is also the general coordinator for the global association of Al-Azhar graduates in Assiut, Egypt. He’s also in the Supervision & Development Department of the Lab. of Marine Products Technology and food analysis an Executive Supervisor in the aquaponic unit, in the Faculty of Science, an ambassador and a supervisor of a fish farm in Al-Azhar University in Assiut, Egypt. He’s participated in many projects in the Mediterranean Sea, lake Nasser, River Nile and aquaculture, biodiversity and stock assessment. He’s also achieved various environmental studies in biodiversity and impact assessment, supervised various Master’s and doctoral theses and participated in many conferences- workshops, meetings – and trainings. Also, he’s a member of various scientific journals and participated in reports of FAO, IUCN et al.,  in three books and published around 75 manuscripts.

He’s cooperated with universities in Egypt, NIOF, World Fish Centre, AGENCY (LFRPDA) in Egypt., OceanCare, GFCM, FAO, SPA/RAC, IUCN, CIESM.

His maritime and marine qualifications include diving, scientific expeditions (scientific and commercial boats), monitoring biodiversity, invasion, elasmobranches, cetaceans and fisheries’ impact on the bycatch.

KEYNOTE PANEL 4: Policy framework and emerging tools

Rima Jabado

Rima Jabado

United Arab Emirates

Affiliation: IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) & IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group

Dr Rima Jabado is the Deputy Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Chair of the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. As a scientist and conservationist, she has spent over 20 years developing and working on conservation initiatives globally. Her work focuses on bridging the gap between science and policy to ensure issues such as bycatch, threatened species conservation, and illegal trade are tackled. Her research has been instrumental in influencing decision makers to implement meaningful measures for the protection of species across a range of fisheries. She is now leading the Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRA) project to ensure sharks, rays, and chimaeras are considered in area-based management initiatives around the world. She is a member of the IUCN Marine Conservation Committee, serves as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Appointed Scientific Councilor for Fish, and sits on the Advisory Committee for the CMS Sharks Memorandum of Understanding as the representative of the Asia region. She has also founded the Elasmo Project, a non-profit initiative that encourages and supports work in data-poor areas focused on investigating shark and ray fisheries and trade.

Simone Niedermueller

Simone Niedermueller

Austria

Affiliation: World Wide Fund for Nature, Mediterranean Office

Simone Niedermueller is a marine biologist that has been trained at the Universities of Vienna, Lisbon and Queensland. She joined WWF in 2012 working on seafood trade and marine conservation. Before joining WWF Simone worked for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. With more than a decade of experience working on the conservation of endangered marine species, fisheries and seafood trade including working on the implementation of CITES, she currently leads on the work on shark and ray conservation and management for WWF Mediterranean since 2019.

Lobna BEN NAKHLA

Lobna BEN NAKHLA

Tunisia

Lobna BEN NAKHLA is a Biologist, working on the marine environment since 2002 in the SPA/RAC, The Mediterranean Biodiversity Centre of UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan.

She’s coordinating the vulnerable marine and coastal species programme, which is based on the implementation of regional action plans for the conservation of a species (Monk Seal) or a group of species (cetaceans, sea turtles, birds, cartilaginous fishes). She’s also responsible of the collaboration programmes established every three years since 2006 with the ACCOBAMS Secretariat.

 

KEYNOTE PANEL 5: Stimulating public engagement

Felipe Ravina

Felipe Ravina

Spain

Felipe Ravina is from Tenerife, Canary Islands. He graduated from Marine Sciences at Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and is currently dedicated to producing underwater documentaries, like Salvar Tenerife, and different communication campaigns aiming to protect marine biodiversity.

Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell

UK

Ian’s career in marine conservation has spanned 20 years and has included working in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and started off volunteering at the iconic Shark Lab in Bimini. Ian spent five years living in the South Pacific leading WWF’s global shark and ray conservation efforts as well as working as a technical specialist to the Fijian government as part of their delegations to CITES and CMS leading the proposal to list mobula rays.

As Associate Director of Policy and Campaigns, Ian leads PADI AWARE’s development and implementation of conservation projects and initiatives with a view to influencing policy at the local, national and global levels, and lead the current work to develop a Global Shark and Ray Census citizen science project with the global recreational diving sector.

Michael Scholl

Michael Scholl

Belgium
Over the course of his extensive career, Michael’s personal passion for sharks and marine conservation has driven him to hold influential positions that have significantly impacted global efforts. As the Executive Director of the University of Liège’s Aquarium and Museum of Zoology, he spearheads initiatives to promote scientific literacy and environmental stewardship. His role involves managing living animal collections and Naturalia exhibits, ensuring their welfare, and educating visitors about biodiversity.
Michael’s career is marked by notable achievements, including his tenure as CEO of the White Shark Trust (WST) and the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF). His leadership in these organisations, which underscored his commitment to shark conservation and marine research, instils confidence in his ability to inspire the next generation of environmentalists. Additionally, he coordinated the Pangaea Young Explorer Program with explorer Mike Horn, further highlighting his dedication. As Chair of the Communication Working Group for the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG), Michael contributes to global conservation strategies for sharks, rays, and chimaeras. His work in this capacity underscores his expertise in crafting global strategies, forging partnerships, and elevating brand awareness. Beyond his professional endeavours, Michael is passionate about non-profit management, international team leadership, and innovative environmental communication – he created and acted as the Editor-in-Chief of the Save Our Seas and the Shark News magazines. His diverse background, which includes teaching Sciences and Mathematics, enriches his approach to conservation and education.
Michael’s ultimate goal is to inspire a paradigm shift in how society perceives and protects the Oceans and their inhabitants. Through his leadership and vision, he continues to thrive to make significant strides in marine conservation and environmental education.
WORKSHOPS:
Marine spatial planning and shark conservation in the Mediterranean

Marine spatial planning and shark conservation in the Mediterranean

WWF Med - Simone Niedermuller

This workshop aims to explore how Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can support shark conservation efforts in the Mediterranean Sea. Participants will learn about the principles of MSP, current shark conservation challenges, and examine case studies showcasing successful integration of MSP and shark conservation.

• Understand the principles and benefits of Marine Spatial Planning.
• Explore the role of MSP in promoting sustainable marine ecosystems.
• Analyze case studies demonstrating successful MSP and shark conservation integration.
• Identify collaboration opportunities and innovative approaches in the Mediterranean context

Innovasea Fish Tracking – New Advancements in Acoustic Telemetry

Innovasea Fish Tracking – New Advancements in Acoustic Telemetry

Innovasea - Dr. Andre Steckenreuter

This workshop will give you a comprehensive overview of what can be achieved regarding spatio-temporal movements of aquatic animals using acoustic telemetry. We will discuss how this ever-advancing technology cannot only answer where and when an animal is but also why (focus on sharks & rays). Thus, we will dive into the advantages of, e.g. transmitter sensor options such as acceleration and predation and our latest receiver model (NexTrak system). Another focus will be on recent advancements in software development and the data analyses capabilities of our Fathom software suite such as fine-scale positioning, range testing, but also mobile data offloads, etc. Finally, you will get a chance to experience Innovasea’s equipment firsthand during live demos!

Amvrakikos Alliance – Working in a critical area for sharks and rays

Amvrakikos Alliance – Working in a critical area for sharks and rays

iSea - Martina Ciprian

Amvrakikos Alliance its a coalition of entities, the first of its kind in Greece, aiming to contribute to the effective management of the Amvrakikos Gulf National Park and assist the work of its responsible Management Agency by creating a long-term partnership among different stakeholders operating in the Amvrakikos Gulf, via a variety of actions that include research, outreach and more. The members of the Alliance meet 3 times per year to discuss all matters regarding Amvrakikos Gulf National Park conservation and management. In 2024 the last meeting of the year will take place in the context of the European Elasmobranch Association Annual Conference and will be open to all delegates, for sharing experiences and ideas from other similar efforts and regions.

 

Find more here: https://isea.com.gr/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Amvrakikos-Gulf-Biodiversity-Threats-Laymans-Report.pdf

Young Conservationists in Chondrichthyan Conservation

Young Conservationists in Chondrichthyan Conservation

iSea - Roxani Naasan Aga Spyridopoulou

This side event aims to connect youth and early career scientists who work or aim to work in Chondrichthyan conservation. During the event the participants will be called to identify challenges in career seeking opportunities and work environments (NGOs, institutes and academia) and suggest solutions by sharing thoughts and exchanging experiences. This event will be an opportunity to get to know other youth and early career scientists and serve as the beginning of a dialogue between Chondrichthyan conservationists and researchers who value equity, diversity, and community.

How to use social media to talk about shark science and conservation, and why you should

How to use social media to talk about shark science and conservation, and why you should

David Shiffman Consulting, INC.- Dr. David Shiffman

It’s never been more important to break out of the ivory tower and engage with the public, and modern communications tools like social media and blogs make it easier than ever before in human history for experts to share their expertise with the interested public. However, the changing social media landscape, including the decline of twitter and the emergence of many competing alternatives, makes this confusing for scientists and conservationists looking to get started. In this workshop, award-winning public science educator Dr. David Shiffman will walk you through basic principles and advanced strategies for how to communicate shark science and conservation to the public and introduce you to some of the leading social media tools for public science engagement. Bring a computer or smartphone, and bring your questions!

 

David Shiffman is the CEO of David Shiffman Consulting, INC., a Washington, DC based consulting firm that helps scientists and conservationists communicate with the public, with journalists, and with policymakers. Clients include UNFAO FIsheries, the IUCN Red List, PADI, the Ocean Conservancy, NOAA, and dozens of universities and small non-profits around the world.
He has obtained a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship in Conservation Leadership, 2017-2019 and holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, 2016. He’s been awarded as “Simon Fraser University Newsmaker of the Year”,  “Sigma Xi, the International Scientific Honor Society, Full Member” and “Florida Marine Science Educator of the Year, FMSEA”.

ABOUT THE EEA

The European Elasmobranch Association (EEA) is a non-profit umbrella organisation of European organisations dedicated to the study, management and conservation of sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras (cartilaginous fishes or chondrichthyans).

The objectives of the EEA are to coordinate the regional and international activities of its member organisations to advance research, sustainable management, conservation and education on cartilaginous fishes throughout Europe. The EEA was established in 1996 as a share-holding organisation. It is an association of organisations, not individuals and each country is represented by one member.

The EEA is run by a Board of Directors (one EEA delegate from each of its member organisations), which appoints a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and other officers. The board formally meets at the EEA Annual Scientific Meeting and holds the Annual General Meeting (AGM) concurrently. This provides opportunities to discuss business and policy issues and report back on activities over the previous year.

The EEA holds Annual Scientific Meetings, which are attended by international researchers, non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives, students and interested members of the public, offering high-profile discussions and a presentation forum in the marine science and conservation context. In recent years, both the Annual General Meeting and Annual Scientific Meeting, have been combined and are the highlight of European elasmobranch activities.

ABOUT iSea

iSea is an Environmental Organisation founded in 2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece, with the vision of a healthy Mediterranean Sea supporting sustainable development and resilience of local coastal communities. Its team consists of young, but experienced, people from multidisciplinary backgrounds that share their passion for environmental protection and enthusiastically work based on the common values of collaboration, transparency, scientificity and equity.

"Working together with local communities to preserve and restore the Mediterranean Sea" iSea aims to 1) promote science-based measures and sound policies for the protection of the environment, 2) protect the aquatic ecosystems through raising awareness on current environmental problems and promote good practices to address them and 3) elaborate and promote scientific research, as the basis for sustainable development and resilience with the aim of environmental, social, and economic prosperity of the local communities.

Through scientific research, advocacy, awareness raising, Citizen Science and innovation it implements actions in 4 pillars: 1) Aquatic litter, 2) Human & aquatic ecosystems, 3) Marine Protected Areas and 4) Vulnerable species.


SUPPORTERS

SPONSORS

UNDER THE AUSPICE

CONTACT US