Working collaboratively towards species specific reporting and sustainable fisheries management around the Falkland Islands.


Situated 300 miles east off the Patagonia coast of South America, the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands are a hotspot for sharks, skates and rays. Including around 18 different species of skate.

The Falklands have a productive foreign fleet fishery managed by the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department (FIFD). This is a significant fishery for South Korea, as the largest consumer of skates globally. Around 43% of Spain’s skate and ray imports also originate from the Falklands. Trawler fisheries target skates, while longline fisheries land skates caught as bycatch.


Skates are usually processed at sea. As most species look very similar in appearance, identification can be time consuming and lead to mis-reporting. All landed skates are currently recorded as a single mixed species assemblage, such as ‘ray’ rather than by individual species.

Accurate, species specific reporting is vital. Helping to track population trends, observe changes in species diversity and distribution. And can be used towards future management measures for the Falkland Islands fishery.


In 2017, we launched the Falkland Islands project in collaboration with the FIFD and funded by the John Ellerman Foundation. The aim - to work with the FIFD to help enable species specific landings data for sharks, skates and rays caught around the Falkland Islands.


  1. ACCURATE SPECIES IDENTIFICATION: Improved understanding of shark, skate and ray assemblage and monitoring changes in catch composition over time.

  2. SPECIES SPECIFIC REPORTING: Build on existing data to track changes in species populations and use towards sustainable fisheries management.

  3. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: Improved knowledge of the diversity and ecology of sharks, skates and rays of the region.


Introducing our latest ID materials...

We've produced two sets of placards and an ID guide. Designed to help fishers identify and report sharks, skates and rays by species. Key sections have been translated into Spanish and Korean, which are the main languages used in the fishery.

These ID materials were originally tailored for skate caught as bycatch in the Patagonian Toothfish Longline Fishery. In 2018, we expanded these to include other sharks, skates and rays encountered across the different fisheries managed by the FIFD. In 2020 we launched:

  • Skate Identification Placards: Designed for mounting aboard fishing vessels and harbour notice boards. They differentiate between the most commonly caught and similar skate species. The first placard displays 8 skates caught as bycatch in the Patagonian Toothfish Longline fishery. The second, an extra 8 morphologically similar skates encountered across the fisheries.

  • Elasmobranch Identification Guide: A 32-page guide advising on biology, ecology and morphology of 18 skates, 1 ray and 6 sharks encountered by Falkland Islands fisheries. This is a more in-depth supplement to the placards and includes extra species. 100 copies are being printed and distributed to the Falkland Islands!

You can check these out below:

► Skate Identification Placards: Placard 1 (pdf) | Placard 2 (pdf)

Elasmobranch Identification Guide (pdf) | Reference List (pdf)


Empty eggcases can often be found washed up on beaches or entangled in fishing gear. Eggcases from the Falkland Islands could provide important information about diversity and the broad distribution of these less-understood egg-laying sharks, skates and rays.

We're continuing to work collaboratively with the FIFD to help gather such information. The ID Guide features examples of 8 of the more commonly found eggcases from around the Falkland Islands.

We look forward to reports of eggcase finds from the Falkland Islands in the near future!

Related Links:

► Find out more about our Great Eggcase Hunt