Science and research

Little is known about most of the biology and ecology of 27 elasmobranch species present in Welsh waters. There has been progress in understanding commercially targeted species, but the other 18 species are extremely data-limited, including 10 of which are listed on the Section 7 species list of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.

Without data on distribution, abundance, seasonality, life-history traits, and associated habitats, it is challenging to safeguard these species.

Data from fishers

Our fisher engagement programme hopes to collect a range of data on historical and current presence of elasmobranchs in Wales to better understand these species (find out more in working with fishers).


Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS)

An array of benthic BRUVS are being deployed on the seafloor in summer, to gather information on both fish and habitat assemblages within the PLAS SAC. Alongside this, local charter fishers will be trained in deploying BRUVS, to see what species are present at their favourite marks. Footage will be analysed by scientists and citizen scientists through the Instant Wild platform.

Angelshark Satellite Tagging Survey

A satellite tagging survey to investigate Angelshark movement and habitat use will be co-designed with a charter fisher. Results of tagging will help to identify links between Angelsharks and SAC habitat features and other areas of the SAC network and adjacent waters.

Environmental DNA (eDNA)

We have been taking regular water samples across the CBAE SAC to investigate the presence and seasonality of elasmobranchs in the region. eDNA samples have also been collected during each BRUV deployment in PLAS, to compare what is seen via video and via eDNA analysis.


Dissection events

In collaboration with the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), Aberystwyth School of Veterinary Science (ASVS) and University College Dublin Veterinary Hospital (UCDVH), Project SIARC were able to conduct two sets of #CSIofTheSea examinations of five Angelsharks, in both Wales and Ireland, to gather vital biological information on these Critically Endangered species.

Although it is extremely rare, strandings of dead Angelsharks can occur around the coast. Post-mortem examination and analysis of samples generates vital data related to the cause of death, health of the individual (including disease and contamination), diet, reproductive patterns, population structure, as well as connectivity to other populations across the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.

The dissection events provided an incredible opportunity to both strengthen and expand current collaborations in Wales and Ireland, and highlighted the vast number of organisations working towards the conservation of Angelsharks and other shark species across the Celtic Seas Ecoregion. Together, we hope to build the capacity for collaborative elasmobranch conservation across the region.

Check out our new blog to find out more about the #CSIofTheSea examinations, and watch our video below, to find out more about the work happening in Ireland.


Research group

One of the Project SIARC aims is to enable new partnerships and collaborative research by bringing together elasmobranch scientists and NGOs across the Celtic Seas Ecoregion. To do this, we are developing a Project SIARC Research Group, to meet quarterly, to share recent findings, expertise, experience and current research between organisations.

Let's talk

If you’re a researcher or organisation working on elasmobranchs across the Celtic Seas Ecoregion, get in touch with us to find out more.
Project SIARC is a multidisciplinary project working with fishers, citizen scientists, researchers, local communities and government to safeguard sharks, skates and rays and support a green recovery in Wales.

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.


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