LIFE EU Sharks – European Sharks

LIFE EU Sharks – European Sharks

Project number:



Duration of the project:

1. 10. 2023. – 30. 9. 2027.


Total value:

2,597,014 €


EU co-financing:

1,558,208 €


Coordinating beneficiary:

Zoological Station Antun Dohrn (Italy)



University of Split (Croatia), MedSharks (Italy), Shoreline S.C. (Italy), Costa Edutainment (Italy), University of Florence (Italy), Corps of the Port Captaincies – Coast Guard (Italy), D.R.E.A.M. – Agro-forestry Cooperative Company (Italy), FLAG GAC Island of Sicily (Italy), Comune San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy), Centro di Competenza Distretualle S.C.A.R.L. (Italy), Comune Favignana (Italy), Protected Marine Area Porto Cesareo (Italy), French Office for Biodiversity (France), Submon (Spain)


Project description:

LIFE European Sharks will engage European citizens and marine stakeholders in a joint effort to safeguard Mediterranean sharks and rays, the most endangered group of marine species in Europe, threatened by unsustainable levels of accidental captures, pollution and habitat destruction. The long-term goal is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of Mediterranean elasmobranchs, encouraging co-responsibility and promoting behaviour change as a key factor in reversing their decline across the basin. As sharks and rays are often highly migratory and cross many national borders during their lifetimes, LIFE EUSharks activities will touch Italy, France, Croatia, Spain and Slovenia, effectively involving the entire Central and Western Mediterranean in the conservation of these species. Here, it will strengthen the implementation of Union regulations and improve management, with an unprecedented capacity building that will reduce the mortality of protected species and increase the quality of data collection. It will co-design and experiment with professional fishermen’s voluntary solutions to curb bycatch mortality, monitoring their socio-economic impact; inspire anglers to increase the survival of sharks and rays with catch&release and safer handling practices; divers will restore nursery areas and EU Sharks DiveSpots, reducing the risks of entanglement in marine litter and lost fishing gear. Outreach will increase public understanding of the essential role of these charismatic species in the health of Mediterranean ecosystems, shifting the perception of sharks from “dangerous” to “endangered”. Chefs and food bloggers will encourage the consumption of local and more sustainable seafood products. A white paper will include the project’s co-created, evidence-based and locally-tested solutions and key policy recommendations. It will be shared across the Mediterranean Sea to assist authorities, policymakers and communities in implementing shark conservation measures.