Hatchery for project 'Sharks and rays back in the North Sea'

In June 2015 the project 'Sharks and rays back in the North Sea' was started, a collaboration in which the World Wildlife Fund takes the lead. Blue Linked acts as coordinator in fish culture for the project.

In our facilities of the Experimental hatchery (Utrecht), we keep egg capsules of sharks and rays for their development into juvenile fish. The egg capsules are donated by the Dolfinarium (Harderwijk, the Netherlands). On 1 May 2016 the first rays were born. Presently, about 300 thornback rays (Raja clavata) are growing up in our hatchery. We carefully monitor their development for optimizing the circumstances in captivity, in order to be successful in gaining healthy animals that might be released in the wild.

Film left: vlogger Niels Roozen visits the hatchery (Zapp Your Planet - WWF action 'Gehaaid') (in Dutch).

Media attention for the project

Omroep Zeeland (8 June 2017) Het Parool (20 May 2017) Television programme Tijd voor MAX (11:40-18:45) (3 May 2017)
Algemeen Dagblad (7 April 2017)

Television programme Vroege Vogels (first seven minutes) (4 April 2017)

Radio programme Vroege Vogels (07:20-09:30) (April 2015)
On 6 June 2016 the hatchery received much attention from the 100 guests that were present at the WWF Service Event.
Egg capsules thornback ray (Raja clavata) (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
Egg capsules thornback ray (Raja clavata) (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
Thornback ray (Raja clavata), dorsal view (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
Thornback ray (Raja clavata), dorsal view (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
Thornback ray (Raja clavata), ventral view (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
Thornback ray (Raja clavata), ventral view (photo: P. Verhoog, WWF).
'Sharks and rays back in the North Sea' is a project arising from the Sharks Action Plan that was erected by the World Wildlife Fund in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and other partners. Aim of the project is: 'A North Sea with a restored ecosystem, with healthy populations of sharks and rays. This aim should be realized by the year 2030.' (preliminary translation)

People become increasingly aware of the significance of healthy oceans for our future. This is also noticable in the Netherlands. As a result of the European Water Framework Directive, the Dutch government is obliged to set out a policy that ensures a prosperous horizon for the North Sea, including an increase in populations of vulnarable fish species such as sharks and rays.

Michael Laterveer (director Blue Linked) about the project: 'It would be great to contribute to a healthy future of charismatic predators in their original and natural distribution area, the coastal region of the North Sea. After all, as top predators sharks and rays are the optimal characteristics of a resilient ecosystem.'
WWF-Netherlands brochure about the project (in Dutch).

Partners in the project 'Sharks and rays back in the North Sea' are: World Wildlife Fund, The North Sea Foundation, Blue Linked, Sportvisserij Nederland, Dutch Shark Society.