The project ELIFE aims at improving the conservation of elasmobranch species (sharks and rays) promoting best conservation practices in the context of the EU professional fishing, in the Mediterranean Sea, carrying out pilot and demonstrative actions in Italian harbours of Chioggia, Gallipoli, Lampedusa, Cirò Marina/Porto Cesareo, North Sardinia, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo and Pelagie Islands.

Based both on the current scientific baseline and on focused interviews to fishermen operating in the main Italian fishing harbours carried out this year, specific objectives of the project are:

  • reduction of the by-catch of many threatened elasmobranchs, critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species, during the professional fishing activities.
  • reduction of the mortality of threatened elasmobranchs during the professional fishing activities.
  • elimination of catches for the endangered sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, caused by bottom trawling in the waters of the Lampione island.
  • reduction of the incidental catches and collisions and the anthropic disturbance on the endangered basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in Northern Sardinian Sea.
  • implementation of suitable conservation measures with an eco-systemic approach to fisheries through the preparation and adoption of specific local management plans
  • support to the management authorities for conservation and management policies of sharks, providing newest and deepest data for assessment of the environmental status and implementing activities consistent with a management plan of this species.
  • to obtain a substantial shift toward low impacting fishing devices lowering the shark by-catch by professional fishermen, supporting them in fund raising.
  • to involve Mediterranean fishermen and enhance their role in marine biodiversity conservation issues .
  • to transfer conservation actions and good practices for shark by-catch mitigation and lowering mortality in others EU-Mediterranean countries
  • to promote the evidence of the value of the elasmobranch fishes to maintain the marine good environmental status.
  • to make people and stakeholders aware about the vulnerability of the elasmobranchs, in order to promote awareness towards a more sustainable fishing and a responsible fish consumption.