Endangered Coastal Elasmobranchs of the North-East Atlantic

Aurélien Delaval, C. Isabel Wagner, Tanja Schwanck, Fenella R. Wood, Catherine S. Jones, Galice Hoarau, Leslie R. Noble

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, rays and sawfishes) are among the oldest and most diverse groups of marine vertebrates. They serve important ecological functions in marine food webs such that they are often considered as indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Many are also of significant socio-economic value to humans, having historically been an important food source for many coastal communities. However, elasmobranchs exhibit life-history traits that render them highly susceptible to exploitation, such as late-onset maturity and a dependence on nursery habitats. As a result, many have experienced significant population declines and local extinctions as a result of fishing pressure and habitat loss. Furthermore, climate change poses a significant, but as yet relatively unexplored, threat to many elasmobranch populations. In the North-East Atlantic, many protected coastal elasmobranchs are still caught as bycatch, largely as a result of knowledge gaps in their biology, and have struggled to recover. Here, we explore the main threats faced by coastal North-East Atlantic elasmobranchs and describe ongoing and future research and conservation efforts using case studies of four species of varying conservation status: the flapper skate Dipturus intermedius, blue skate Dipturus batis, thornback ray Raja clavata, and spurdog Squalus acanthias.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-409548-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Blue skate
  • Bycatch
  • Common skate
  • Conservation
  • Critically endangered
  • Elasmobranch
  • Endangered
  • Fishing
  • Flapper skate
  • Marine protected areas
  • North-East Atlantic
  • Spurdog
  • Thornback ray
  • Threatened


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