To understand the biology and ecology of threatened and data deficient elasmobranch species as well as understand their trade and the perception of stakeholders on the importance of elasmobranchs and increase awareness in order to enhance conservation.
- To enhance knowledge on the relative (in Mediterranean and Global terms) diversity and abundance of elasmobranch species occurring in Cyprus waters.
- To understand the preferred benthic habitats of key threatened species, identify important benthic assemblages and prey species (through dietary analyses) of elasmobranchs in the waters of Cyprus.
- To understand elasmobranch phenology, reproductive patterns and connectivity and phylogeny of Angel Sharks in a regional context.
- To feed these data into holistic bycatch management plans under the umbrella of the MAVA M4 Cyprus Bycatch Project and using existing advocacy materials translated to local languages.
- To understand the perception of stakeholders on the importance of elasmobranchs and increase awareness in order to enhance conservation.
- To propose conservation measures based on our findings through a peer-reviewed publication and feed results into MAVA M4 bycatch projects.
- Observations made of 104 fishing operations during 75 fishing days from 15 fishing shelters across Cyprus. Fishing practices and metiers described. Catch per Unit Effort calculated for 16 elasmobranch species, totalling 166 records, with high proportion of threatened or data deficient species. New records for some areas of the island.
- Elasmobranch survival rates in set nets and on longlines observed are high, but most are retained against international conventions protecting them.
- Five hundred and sixty-four individuals of 28 species were recorded opportunistically with 265 examined for reproductive status, pregnancy, sex, morphometrics and diet.
- Interviews undertaken with nearly 200 professional fishers to understand elasmobranch trade and economics and their knowledge of international protective legislation. Assessment made of the diversity of elasmobranchs encountered and local extinctions.
- Online public survey to assess ecological knowledge and attitude toward elasmobranchs.
- Awareness campaign through local and social media including animated illustrations.
- Shark Trust advisory materials translated to local languages and made available online.
- Action plans written for angel sharks to guide stakeholders.
- Proposed conservation measures include marine protected areas, for the list of non-tradable species in the Turkish Cypriot community to be increased to reflect international norms, a short training course for professional fishers to identify, handle and safely release protected species.
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