DNA based monitoring of sharks and rays and risk-based analysis of by-catch in various fisheries (39888)

Project Details


Visual species recognition of rays and some shark species is today fraught with great uncertainties. The project will develop a DNA-based monitoring of the species composition of sharks and rays in the Danish commercial fishery to ensure that unintentional by-catch can be assessed at the species level. Next, the project will identify fisheries, gear, areas and/or seasons with a significantly increased risk of unintentional by-catch, which is information that can be used in future risk-based management.

The project conducts a monitoring campaign in 2021, where 1000 tissue samples from rays and selected shark species will be collected during observer trips on commercial fishing vessels and 1000 tissue samples at landing sites. The species composition of sharks and rays in fisheries (catches and landings), the temporal and geographical distribution of these will be investigated. Further, a risk-based analysis of by-catch of sharks and rays in the Danish fishery will be conducted, where the DNA analysis results are used in combination with observer, landing and VMS data to assess fisheries, gear, areas and/or seasons with significantly increased risk of by-catch.

The project will increase knowledge about the species composition of rays and sharks in commercial fishing, enhance the knowledge base for the preparation of guidelines for species identification for fishermen, auctions and observers, contribute to the development of a cost-effective reduced monitoring program and create the knowledge base for a risk-based management of fishing grounds and gear, which can be used to reduce unintentional by-catches of sharks and rays.

The project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Danish Fisheries Agency and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. 

Research area: Ecosystem based Marine Management
Research area: Population Genetics
Research area: Fisheries Management
Effective start/end date01/04/202117/02/2023


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