Next week, the Marine Institute will play host to a gathering of shark experts from around Europe. These experts are members of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea's (ICES) Elasmobranch Working Group. Elasmobranch is the scientific name for sharks and rays, fishes that do not have a bony skeleton. The working group studies the populations of these species in Europe. It assesses the effects of fishing and other human activities on them.
The meeting is being organised by Graham Johnston of the Marine Institute. The group has members from fifteen countries, and is chaired by Dr. Jim Ellis, from the UK Fisheries Laboratory, Lowestoft. According to former chair of the group, Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute, "this meeting will be the first one to assess populations of skates, rays and small dogfish around Ireland. We know that some of our skates are now very much depleted, but some types of dogfishes are on the increase elsewhere in Europe. It will be interesting to see what the results of the fish surveys we conduct on the RV Celtic Explorer tell us about their status in Irish waters."
The working group takes place from the 22nd to the 28th June.