One of the objectives of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to restore and maintain populations of harvested species above levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield. To achieve this for elasmobranchs, the EU adopted an Action Plan for Sharks (EUPOA) in 2009 with the objective to broaden knowledge on sharks and to ensure sustainability of shark fisheries. This was later followed by a study of the EUPOA in 2013, which identified several key gaps in knowledge of sharks that hinders the provision of scientific advice.

The present study will tackle some of the identified knowledge gaps and contribute in improving the availability and reliability of scientific advice for key elasmobranch species caught in association with pelagic fisheries. The study will provide the European Commission (DG MARE) with:
• Updated information regarding the association or occurrence of pelagic sharks and rays in different fisheries;
• Updated information regarding data collection and methodological approaches for the assessment of conservation status of sharks;
• A critical review of existing Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) for sharks and of the current conservation status of the species concerned; and
• Proposals to improve and/or provide alternative options for conservation and management of sharks taking into account any recent methodological advances and new data or information.

The project started in January 2017 and will run until May 2018.