Chondrichthyans (sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras) play a pivotal role in the marine environment providing stability to coastal and oceanic ecosystem structures and functions.
Today, about half of the Mediterranean sharks and batoids are threatened with extinction, mainly due to by-catch (unintentional catch). Nevertheless, research on chondrichthyes, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, is limited.
In the framework of The MECO programme and ELIFE LIFE project, we utilized open data from citizens’ science projects, open access databases GBIF and OBIS, scientific literature, but also from the Cypriot EU Data Collection Framework to present a reconstructed chondrichthyans national list with all species that have been confirmed to be present in the Cypriot seas. The scientific publication was led by Marine and Environmental Research Lab and iSea in collaboration with Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and other entities from Greece, Italy and United Kingdom.
It produced vital data for the management and conservation of chondrichthyes such as the presence of three new species (Dalatias licha, Taeniurops grabatus, and Squatina aculeata) for Cyprus, important grounds for the critically endangered Blackchin Guitafish (Glaucostegus cemiculus) in the Mediterranean, and potential migratory routes for other species.
The updated list of Cyprus contains 32 species of sharks and 28 species of batoids.
The publication is open-access and can be read here: https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes6030024