Tender for North Coast Elasmobranch Survey

Government Bodies
FjordStrong successfully replied to a tender from DAERA for a pilot demersal elasmobranch survey of the North Coast using non-destructive methodologies. In addition to providing high resolution and up to date species occurrence data to inform the emerging NI elasmobranch conservation strategy, this tender also aimed to validate other data sources to improve quality assurance and to provide in-situ imaging and biodiversity data of several challenging locations where no information was available.
FjordStrong conducted over 30 stereo-BRUV deployments in March 2023 across two sites located in the North Channel at depths up to 120 m. As both sites are renowned for their fast bottom current speeds (>2 ms-1), technical modifications were applied to ensure deployment success and safe retrieval.
3D imaging was used to extract body measurements through a non-invasive and non-extractive methodology known as photogrammetry. This approach allowed our analysis to make use of a multi-dimensional clustering algorithm known as DBSCAN to determine the exact number of individuals of a Critically Endangered skate species that appeared throughout the survey, and to explore the possibility of connectivity between the sites.
By successfully delivering on all three aims within the proposed timeframe and budget, this project showcased the applicability of our methodologies for cost effective and sustainable biodiversity surveys while proving the validity in relation to other sources.
Timely and comprehensive report exceeded all deliverables of the project. Their proactive communication and adaptability maintained a tight deadline despite challenging conditions. Notably, the project remained within budget reflecting FjordStrong’s professionalism and commitment from the outset.

Explore the range of services we provided for this project: 

Marine Surveys

Using bait to attract wide-roaming wildlife into the survey platform, our bespoke Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) systems are tailored to perform under the high current speeds encountered in the North East Atlantic. Rated to a depth of 250 meters, they are a rapid and cost effective tool for surveying marine biodiversity, with dual independent lights facilitating round the clock surveying.

Our stereo-imaging techniques are optimised for moderate turbidity levels, allowing our analysts to take accurate measurements through a technique known as photogrammetry without removing specimens from their habitat. Covering both the demersal and pelagic regions, our BRUVs can provide reliable data on:

  • Species Inventories
  • Accurate Measurements and Biomass Estimates
  • Relative Abundances
  • Species Interactions
  • Temporal Changes and Patterns
  • Growth Rates and Overall Condition
Marine Surveys

FjordStrong provides an affordable, zero-impact, reliable solution for measurements of marine specimens in-situ. Using our stereo-imaging cameras, specifically designed to perform in areas of moderate turbidity such as the North East Atlantic, our analysts generate 3D point clouds of the target. With a proven high accuracy at ranges up to 6 metres we offer our clients non-extractive in-situ tool as an alternative to other destructive, lethal and costly methods. Reliable measurements of wildlife can be converted into biomass estimates, condition factors, and determination of developmental stages. Similarly, multi-annual measurements can be used to estimate growth rates, ideal for fragile species such as hard corals.

Marine Surveys

At FjordStrong, our expertise covers taxonomic identification of species and communities, alongside characterisation of the abiotic and physical environment they live in using nationally recognised classification protocols such as JNCC and EUNIS. By collecting data using non-destructive methods such as ROVs and tow-fish cameras, we can systematically identify, predict and compare habitat distribution and ecosystems using a standardised methodology, while preserving the integrity of the area. Such knowledge underpins MPA monitoring, assessing conservation-value of sites, and licensing of industry activities.

Marine Surveys

FjordStrong provides a suite of non-destructive tools and methodologies for assessing marine biodiversity, tailored to your requirements. In light of the ongoing biodiversity crisis caused by anthropogenic pressures and climate change, there is an increasing urgency to understand local biodiversity and population dynamics, including demographic trends and biomass estimates. We provide a range of robust, non-destructive biodiversity surveys to suit your needs, providing a rapid and cost-effective alternative to traditional destructive techniques. With an in-house elasmobranch expert team, benthic ecologists and fisheries scientists, our team can work with you to bridging the knowledge gap and taking the first steps towards a better ocean.

Consultancy & Data Processing

FjordStrong is deeply committed to Elasmobranch Conservation, employing advanced techniques to study and safeguard these vital components of the oceanic web. Drawing on the expertise of the QUB Marine Lab, Regional Flapper Skate Working Group and Elasmobranch Strategy Group, our team comprises specialists in elasmobranch fisheries interactions, bycatch reduction and monitoring, distribution modelling, and acoustic tagging and biotelemetry. Our commitment extends beyond assessment to proactive strategies, ensuring sustainable practices that protect elasmobranch populations and enhance our understanding of these sentinel species and their crucial role in our oceans.


Accurate ecological models can inform decision-making and marine management, and collecting reliable and relevant data is the fundamental building block to develop robust ecological models. Our team are trained in advanced video technology and zero-impact methodologies, ensuring precise and comprehensive data acquisition. At FjordStrong we have a track record of generating appropriate input data for models, including but not limited to habitat suitability models, species distribution model, allometric morphological models and oceanographic models. FjordStrong provides the essential data for ecological models that stand up to scrutiny, empowering your organisation with data-driven insights for effective environmental stewardship.

eDNA Ground-Truthing and Six Gill Sharks Survey

Fisheries Engagement and Conservation Research at the Marine Institute

Orkney Egg Case Survey

Discover how FjordStrong’s expert consultancy services can elevate your marine projects, tailored specifically to your unique requirements.
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