Workshop on Eastern Mediterranean Cartilaginous Fishes

Bibliography of Cartilaginous Fishes


1. By-catch and Discard:


For the entire Mediterranean Sea, By-catch and Discard constitute one of the threats for the Elasmobranch Species.

Bycatch reduction helps the efficiency of targeted catching.

There are some existing tools to reduce the bycatch of elasmobranches. Some of them have proven to be widely efficient (E.G. elimination of steel lines, Trawler sorting-grids and escaping devices).

Especially regarding Chondrychtyans, By-catch in certain age classes (i.e. aged females) has a considerable effect on population depletion.

It is urgent to record Elasmobranch capture amounts by species in terms of fisheries management.

Recommended Actions

The use of steel lines to attach the hooks should be abandoned.

Capacity-building should be provided to fishermen in order to help them learn about and adapt to new equipment and gears whenever recommended.

Fishing in cartilaginous mating, spawning and nursery grounds should be regulated and monitored.

Allowed commercial sizes for cartilaginous fish according to their life history has to be urgently defined in order to ensure a sustainable population.

Discards should be released back to the sea as soon as possible to ensure the highest rates of survival.

Studies on gear selection and their improvement should be encouraged to reduce by-catch effects.

Logbooks, landing sites, surveys and fishery observer programs have to record elasmobranches by species.

2. Information Retrieval and Diffusion


Standard protocols to record catch, fishing effort, rare species, etc need to be used in the whole region.

There exists widespread confusion regarding local names of cartilaginous species at the fishermen communities. That problem affects the proper record of data.

Despite there being many gaps regarding scientific knowledge of elasmobranches, specific funding to address them has not been prioritized.

A joint Mediterranean database on elasmobranches is a priority.

Recommended Actions

Protocol prepared by RAC/SPA within the framework of the AP should be used by the riparian countries after being revised by experts from Mediterranean countries).

The recommended reference book for cartilaginous taxonomy in the Mediterranean will be the one being prepared by FAO for 2006.

A poster or brochures with pictures of rare and threatened species of Mediterranean cartilaginous species, intended for identification by fishermen, must be produced in each country.

Educational packages on the elasmobranches problems addressed to fishermen and the general public should be produced and widely distributed.

Allocation of scholarships regarding elasmobranch ecology should be addressed by concerned funding institutions to improve expertise, especially in the developing Mediterranean countries.

The database being prepared by RAC\SPA for the Mediterranean region and MEDLEM Database are both complementary and necessary. All the riparian countries should contribute with their data once finalized, while restricted access should be, voluntarily, reduced as much as possible.

3. Critical Habitats


There is initial information regarding the location of critical habitats for cartilaginous species in the Mediterranean. Some of them are very detailed while others are imprecise with little delimitations. That information is still limited and needs improvement.

Very specific populations of certain species may be confined to restricted habitats, but it is necessary to genetically ascertain this aspect in the region.

Recommended Actions

A standard list and a map of critical habitats in the Mediterranean need to be determined, starting from this workshop results and revised every year.

Genetic research on Mediterranean elasmobranch populations should be encouraged in the region. For that purpose, countries should start keeping tissue samples of these species.

4. Coordination and Collaboration


A specific Mediterranean association addressing the conservation of Sharks does not exist in terms of collaboration. However, IUCN and The European Elasmobranch Association are active organizations on this matter and institutions such as GFCM and FAO play an important role concerning elasmobranches.

Recommended Actions

RAC/SPA was asked to present the conclusions of this meeting in the next meeting of the European Elasmobranch Association, and bring forward a suggestion for EEA to become a Euro-Mediterranean organization, allowing membership to all Mediterranean countries.



The Eastern Mediterranean Shark Research Group (EMSRG) is established to follow common interests expressed by East Mediterranean bordering countries during the Workshop on Mediterranean Cartilaginous Fish, held in Istanbul, Turkey on 14-16 October 2005.

1. The EMSRG will collaborate in:
a. Fishery management of sharks
b. Research on shark ecology, biology, population dynamics and genetics, phylogeny and phylogeography
c. Protection of the standing populations of sharks
d. Producing tools for public awareness.
e. Exchange of information.

2. The EMSRG is founded as a nongovermental organization (NGO) in Istanbul under the auspices of the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV, Turkey). Representatives of NGOs, Universities or ResearchCenters, countries in EMSRG; governmental organizations, although reported and consulted are not voting members in EMSRG.

3. EMSRG will organize an annual workshop in one of the member countries, in which research results, data or information will be presented and exchanged. During this meeting voting members will elect the president, two vice presidents and one secretary, for a period of two years.
4. Each country will contribute to the central budget for an annual contribution of US$3,000. The president is responsible, through his adulated institution, for the administration of the budget, for a period of 2 years.

5. President can be elected for 3 terms, vice-presidents and secretary for no more than 2 terms.


A. To establish a joint Multinational Management Program for Shark Fishery, acceptable for all countries members in EMSRG. This program will be proposed after the completion of scientific investigation of fisheries targeted species.

B. EMSRG will make efforts to recruit international funds in order to allocate scholarships for selected students to conduct shark research. EMSRG will make recommendations to countries’ member to conduct investigation in shark ecology at a national level. 

C. EMSRG will standardize methods of data collection and establish a databank, accessible for information retrieval by any member. 

D. Each member of EMSRG is taking upon himself to establish, or to maintain an existing reference collection of Elasmobranches. Specimens are accessible by loans, or exchanges among all members.

E. A reference collection of tissue samples for DNA analyses from all known elasmobranches is to be established and shared by all EMSRF members.

F. Mating and nursery grounds will be censused and EMSRG will make all necessary steps at the international level to declare these areas protected.

G. EMSRG will produce tools for public awareness: 
-to help fishermen to recognize the landed or by-catch species in order to provide more accurate fishery statistics.
-to change the known ‘image” of sharks to a friendly one.
These tools may be posters (multi-languages), series of slides, movies or books.

H. EMSRG will seek collaboration with other national and international organizations such as the FAO, ICCAT, RAC/SPA, and European Elasmobranch Association.

I. EMSRG will make efforts to arrange a research cruise in the LevantBasin of the Mediterranean Sea, in order to collect specimens and help national research as well as to encourage multinational cooperation.


1. Institution representatives: 
Chair by (Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), Turkey)

Dr. Avi Baranes ( Maritime College at Ruppin Academy Center of Israel)

Dr. Manal Nader (University of Balamard, Lebanon)

2. A proposal for the Board of Directors to be elected:

Dr. E. Mümtaz TIRASIN President
Dr. Manal Nader Vice-President
Dr. Avi Baranes Vice-President
Dr. Cemal Turan Secretary