Angling for sustainability
Recreational fishing is economically and socially important along the south coast of England, but we know remarkably little about the species it depends on.
More information is urgently needed to support sustainable fisheries management, and Angling for Sustainability will fill key knowledge gaps by tracking shark, ray and black bream movements. 
Dorset and the Solent are hotspots for recreational angling, with recreational charter businesses receiving more revenue than commercial fishing in ports such as Poole. 
The study will focus on some of the region’s most important species for recreational fishing:
Angling for Sustainability logo
Undulate Ray
Starry Smooth-Hound Shark
Tope shark
Starry Smooth-Hound Shark
Starry smooth-hound shark
Black Bream
Black bream

Tracking movements

We know some of these species make long migrations, but it is not known when they leave or where they go. To inform the sustainable management of these species, the project team will fit fish with acoustic tags so that their movements can be tracked using a network of receivers. We will deploy receivers in Dorset and the Solent, and also make use of the existing FISH INTEL receiver network around the UK and Europe.
Understanding the species’ movements will give insights into their ecology and interactions with anglers. For example, we can discover which areas are important for feeding and breeding, and learn whether there are separate populations within the Channel. Where we see elasmobranchs and black bream in the same locations, we can gain more information about predator-prey relations.
Fish Tag

What to do if you catch a tagged fish or shark


Black bream:
Look out for a clipped lower tail fin.
Photograph, note date, time, location and dorsal fin tag ID.
Tope and smooth-hound shark:
Look out for a dorsal fin clip.
Photograph, note date, time, location and yellow floy tag ID (below the dorsal fin).
Look out for a yellow disc tag on the ray wing.
Photograph, note date, time, location and yellow floy tag ID (in the ray wing).
Please minimise handling and return to water as soon as possible. Report all catches to the email address below.


Please keep the fish and contact the team at the email address below for advice.
Tracking Black Bream
Tracking sharks

Shark tagging trip

In summer 2023 the team led a successful tagging trip near the popular fishing location of Dancing Ledge, with local angling business Silver Spray Charters. The aim was to tag tope, an endangered, highly-migratory shark species popular with recreational anglers. Pleasingly, the team caught and tagged two large tope that day, and fitted them with acoustic transmitters which will last 10 years. This should give us important insights into tope migration.

Working in partnership

Angling for Sustainability is a unique collaboration between recreational-angling businesses, scientists, government advisors and fisheries managers.
It will continue the aMER team’s longstanding collaboration with local fishers in the southwest, with charter skippers playing an essential role in fieldwork. 
A key part of the project will be communication with policy makers, fishers and the wider public. To find out more about the project, visit the Angling Trust website.