Welcome to the website of the Dutch Elasmobranch Society

Our society brings together scientists, conservationists, and policy makers in gathering scientific knowledge and to promote the interests of elasmobranch fishes (sharks, skates and rays) in Dutch and European waters.

Sharks, skates and rays belong to the group of ‘elasmobranchs’ – a subgroup of cartilaginous fishes. The group is an evolutionary success, having been around for 450 million years, and species are present in almost all marine environments, including deep-water and coastal waters, as well as tropical and cold-water regions. Some species even spend all or part of their lives in freshwater. They all share the same biology, being slow-growing, late to mature and producing a small number of young. Most sharks and some rays are live-bearing and produce a few pups each reproductive cycle. The skates and rays predominantly lay egg-cases, from which the young hatch after a few months. These characteristics make elasmobranch species especially vulnerable to threats such as overexploitation and loss of essential habitats. International research estimates that world-wide one in four elasmobranch species is threatened.

In recent years, it has proven difficult to develop suitable policy measures to address this. One of the major constraints is the general lack of knowledge about the ecology and biology of elasmobranch species. The Dutch Elasmobranch Society was founded to identify the persisting gaps in knowledge about Dutch and European elasmobranchs, and to bridge these gaps by conducting our own studies, in collaboration with Dutch and international partners.

About us:

The Dutch Elasmobranch Society was founded in 2010 with as its primary purpose to carry out, facilitate, and encourage scientific research on sharks, skates and rays, thereby adding to the knowledge needed for their (inter) national policy, management and conservation. The main focus of the society is on elasmobranch species swimming in Dutch waters (including the Dutch overseas countries and municipalities), and those caught by the Dutch fishing fleet.

Our main activities are:
– Facilitating, conducting, and supervising elasmobranch research;
– Advocating sustainable management of elasmobranch fish populations, sustainable fisheries and protecting marine wildlife and sensitive habitats at both   a national and international level;
– Creating awareness about elasmobranchs and their environment;
– Advising on elasmobranch research, policy and management;
– Bringing together scientists, policy makers and conservationists in dialogue and research efforts.


The NEV has expertise  in the following topics and involvement in the following projects and/ or groups:

  • EU Common Fisheries Policy
  • Elasmobranchs in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Discards and Survival
  • Sharks in the Wadden Sea
  • Sharks in the Dutch Caribbean
  • Convention on Migratory Species
  • European Advisory Councils for fisheries
  • ICES Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes
  • The European Elasmobranch Association

For more information, contact us via email: info@elasmobranch.nl or visit our Dutch website.