Sustainable management of rays and skates | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Sustainable management of rays and skates

Priority Axis

Resource Efficient Economy

Specific objective

Efficient Use of Resources and Materials

Lead partner

Organisation de Producteurs à la pêche FROM Nord


Date de début


Date de fin


Project budget

2 042 812

ERDF amount

1 225 687

ERDF rate


    À propos

    Common challenge

    A large majority of the fishermen operating in the 2 sea coastal area have artisanal fishery vessels (8 to 25 m.), targeting a large composition of species. Most of them are managed with a European Total Admissible Catch (TAC). The TAC is quite recent for rays (2009 in the Eastern Channel) and it pools together several species of different conservation and exploitation status. In addition, rays don’t benefit from a long lasting knowledge and the EC tends to apply a precautionary approach to TAC-setting, which is poorly supported by fisheries and scientific evidence. SUMARiS will impact the management of rays, to make it more species-specific, economically-efficient and socially acceptable for the fishing industry while protecting the less-known species. Finally, rays will be subject to the Landing Obligation (LO) from 2019 onwards. The project will anticipate the rays’ LO, by encouraging fishermen to adapt their fishing strategies, so to avoid discards and/or release rays alive at sea.

    Main Achievements

    Bringing together fishermen, scientists and fisheries managers from 3 different countries and 3 different cultures and 3 different ways of working to better manage the skate and ray fishery has been a massive challenge.  The SUMARiS project has created a forum for collaborative discussion and the involvement of all partners in developing and delivering the different work packages has helped partners to improve their knowledge and their practices.

    Concerning the fisheries knowledge (WP 1), the Partners pool their skills together to pool data and build a shared database and attend a traning session to provide sea-trips datas. With this tool, they produce an atlas of distribution of skates and rays. Within the survival tests (WP 2), the scientists draft a common protocol of skates and rays ageing and the methodology for scoring rays (RAMP method). The protocol of sea-trips has been validated and sea-going observers has been trained to score vitality of rays. The first sea-trip started in June 2019 in France. In 2018, 2 sea-trips on trawler in Belgium, 4 sea-trips (2 on a trawler and 2 on a gillnet vessel) in France and 5 on a gillnet vessel in UK.

    The Partners started to draft the common code of conduct for the consortium and the guide for a correct identification and handling for fishermen. Debates have focused on the best way they will receive adapted tools (waterproof guide with goodies, glasses and clothes). Last automn, the Partners established too the Educational PowerPoint to use it for the first training session in a fisherie school in Belgium (WP 3).

    After having identified stakeholders involved by the rays fisheries management, the Partners produced a stakeholder contacts list and a local context baseline. They are very active in several working groups and presented the project aims at the ICES Annual Conference, session “How to develop new management methods for commercial exploitation of rays" (WP4).

    Nausicaa communicates on the activities and promotes the project (WP 6): so far 2 videos, 2 newletters in 3 languages, 1 press release have been produced. Social media are used too Twitter and Facebook management account is shared by FROM Nord & Nausicaa and  LinkedIn is exclusively in charge of FROM Nord.

    Finaly the management activities (WP 5) ensured the organisation of the project : Initiation stage has been accomplished, update the activities, organisation of Working group and Steering Committee, Minutes, Financial Claims, derogation  ....




    Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority - KEIFCA

    L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer - IFREMER

    Instituut voor Landbouw- en Visserijonderzoek - ILVO

    Nausicaa, National Sea Center


    URL / Download

    Guide allowing fishermen a correct identification and handling of their catches for each rays and skates species

    Thème: Marine resources
    Type: Method/tool
    Target: Organisations representing SMEs - Schools and training centres - SMEs /enterprises

    Completed rays and skates stocks shared database

    Thème: Marine resources
    Type: Method/tool
    Target: Environmental agencies - SMEs /enterprises - Universities and research centres