Project Details


For many UK target species, ecological and biological data to make evidence-based decisions are limited leading to unsustainable catches. Collecting these data requires significant investment (people and money) with one increasingly popular approach to use members of the public (citizen scientists). Sea fishing is a globally popular activity so recreational anglers are a substantial group of highly motivated and engaged potential citizen scientists. Our project will use the newly established annual sea angling competition located in the Solent to collect relevant data, test and then optimise the citizen science method to a secure a significant cost-effective legacy. Targeting five data-poor species/groups used in the competition: sea bass, black sea bream, skates & rays, tope and smooth hound, we will utilise geolocated images of each fish caught (taken by the teams), perform targeted sampling (e.g. DNA swabs), track fish, and undertake sonar scans of the fished areas. Together, these will generate a unique dataset for each species on their:

· Fish biology (species identification, growth, disease condition, reproductive state).
· Ecology and habitat (spatial distribution, habitat utilisation).
· Genetic identification and reproductive isolation.

Our project will:
· Generate long-term data essential to manage the five data-poor species/groups for more robust fisheries management plans and conservation.
· Improve future management of essential fish habitat areas to promote species recovery.
· Update UK species ID guides for those difficult to identify (e.g. skates & rays).
· Develop a standardised, cost-effective and self-sustaining data collection method that can be delivered at any UK sea angling event.
Effective start/end date1/06/2331/03/25


  • UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: £569,361.00