Sharks Inspiring Action and Research with Communities

Project SIARC is on Instant Wild!

Become a citizen scientist and help us to identify species found off the Welsh coast

What is Project SIARC?

The marine environment in Wales is teeming with life; beneath the often-murky waters are little understood species of shark, skate and ray (elasmobranchs) of conservation importance.
Project SIARC is catalysing links between fishers, researchers, communities and government to collaborate and safeguard elasmobranchs and support a green recovery in Wales.

Our objectives are:

Critical data gaps in the ecology of elasmobranchs are addressed to inform management of two Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

Opportunities for involvement in marine conservation in Wales are diversified

A greater appreciation of the underwater environment in Wales is generated

The next generation are inspired to connect with marine conservation through learning


  • Other names in Wales: monkfish, fiddle fish, maelgi (welsh)
  • Biology: Grows to 240 cm; gives birth to 7-25 pups
  • Status: Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List; part of one of the most threatened elasmobranch families
  • Interesting fact: Angelsharks were once used by Romans to cover shields and sword handles as their skin is extremely tough

Common Stingray

  • Other names in Wales: blue stingray, Morgath ddu (welsh)
  • Biology: Grows to 140 cm; gives birth to 4 – 9 pups
  • Status: Vulnerable on IUCN Red List
  • Interesting fact: Historically, people in Wales believed stingray liver had medicinal benefits when boiled down


  • Other names in Wales: spiny dogfish, rock salmon, Ci pigog (welsh)
  • Biology: Grows to 125 cm; gives birth to 1 – 32 pups
  • Status: Vulnerable on IUCN Red List
  • Interesting fact: The species gets its name due to a small venomous spine that is found at the base of its dorsal fin which is used for protection


  • Other names in Wales: school shark, snapper shark, Ci glas (welsh)
  • Biology: Grows to 195 cm; gives birth to 6 – 52 pups
  • Status: Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List
  • Interesting fact: Tope tend to move round in schools, which can be segregated by size and sex

Is Wales important for
sharks, skates & rays?

Coastal waters of Wales are home to a diverse range of marine species, including 26 species of sharks, skates and rays (known as elasmobranchs). Elasmobranchs are an integral part of Wales’ natural heritage, with significant conservation and cultural importance. Despite their importance, little is known about the biology and ecology of these species.
Project SIARC is delivering a fisher-integrated research programme to gather data on elasmobranchs and their associated habitats.

Where is Project SIARC working?

Project SIARC operates throughout Wales, but will focus community engagement and research at two Special Areas of Conservation (SAC): ‘Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau’ SAC and ‘Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries’ SAC.

Pen Llŷn a'r Sarnau SAC (PLAS)

Located in northwest Wales, PLAS covers over 146,000 hectares of sea, coast, estuary, lagoons, bays, sandbanks and reefs that support diverse wildlife, including those unique to Wales.

Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries SAC (CBAE)

Located in South West Wales, CBAE covers over 66,000 hectares and encompasses four large estuaries. This site has several protected features, including sandbanks, mudflats, sandflats, inlets, bays and Atlantic salt meadows.

Who’s involved?

Project SIARC is a multidisciplinary project, combining both social and biological sciences. It is led by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is completed in partnership with five delivery partners and seven collaborative partners.

We work with coastal communities around Wales, including commercial and recreational fishers, citizen scientist volunteers, primary schools, and researchers. If you’d like to get involved, find out more at our ‘Get Involved’ page.

Delivery Partners


Bangor University are conducting hydrodynamic modelling to help design and interpret results from environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys.


North Wales Wildlife Trust (NWWT) are leading some of the Project SIARC citizen science initiatives, including organising archival research groups and Shark Trust’s Great Eggcase Hunt across Wales.


Shark Trust are delivering elasmobranch and eggcase ID guides for Wales, to support fisher engagement and citizen science research. They are also supporting NWWT in delivering Great Eggcase Hunts across Wales


Swansea University are leading school engagement for Project SIARC, including an exciting expansion of 3D printing in schools to bring our focal species to classrooms around Wales.


Blue Abacus are developing Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) for Project SIARC and will lead analysis of BRUVs footage from PLAS.

Collaborative Partners

Angel Shark Project: Wales will continue to run in parallel with Project SIARC and will co-deliver the Angelshark specific elements of the project.

Funders Partners

Get involved

There are a range of ways that you can get involved with Project SIARC from actively participating in events to aiding in historical research and inspiring future generations to engage with the marine environment.


© 2022 – ZSL Zoological Society of London