Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Another year with WWF NL

We are happy to say, that we will continue our work with WWF Netherlands for another year.

On October 4, the last 17 tagged rays were released into the Delta in Zeeland.In total, within the project “Sharks and rays back in the North Sea”, more than 300 thornback rays(Raja clavata), hatched with Blue Linked, got plastic tags in both wings. A total of 60 animals also received an acoustic transmitter, a so-called VEMCO tag. This provided important information about the growth, survival and migration of the thornback ray in the two Scheldes and the North Sea. The Dutch waters appear to be an excellent habitat for the thornback ray. The last 30 acoustically transmitted animals will collect data for another year via the receivers in the Westerschelde.

This means that the  project has reached its end. A number of important results have been achieved that can contribute to better protection of sharks and rays in our waters:

– The Zeeland Delta and the North Sea are, according to a habitat analysis and migration data, a suitable habitat for (thornback) rays.

– WWF NL supports catch recognition of rays through video recording and DNA comparison within the INNORAYS project, in which we collaborate with, among others, Wageningen Marine Research and Visned: which rays are caught exactly in our North Sea?- Sharks are also acoustically tagged with funds from the project by project partner Sportvisserij Nederland for more data on their distribution area and habitats.

– The hatching, rearing, tagging  and release of the thornback rays delivered a wealth of information about the husbandry of elasmobranches, which will be used for other, highly endangered species and in other follow-up projects.

– There was an important exchange of knowledges with other European organizations that are already working on or want to work on reintroduction. Important contacts and research has been set up with partner organizations that focus on the large skate (Dipturus intermedius) that has almost disappeared in our waters, for example around the Orkney Islands, one of the last strongholds of the giant skate. In addition, research on the highly endangered sea angel (Squatina squatina) is supported.

– The many media event s on television, radio and internet and in newspapers and magazines have raised awareness about sharks and rays and an increasing number of people are realizing how important these animals are for a healthy sea.

But the activities don’t stop there: The World Wide Fund for Nature is currently working with ARK Nature Development on a project design for a more beautiful, wild and natural North Sea in which, among other things, the existing recovery projects for sharks and rays and shellfish banks come together.


Gemerkte stekelrog (Raja clavata)

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