Bull Rays in Malta: Publication, Preservation and Education

  • People having a greater appreciation of the natural world

  • Government, public institutions, and the media acting in ways that support the natural world

€4,300 awarded

Bull Rays in Malta: Publication, Preservation and Education

Project duration: February 2024 – February 2025 

Bull Rays (Aetomylaeus bovinus) are critically endangered rays which can be spotted all along Malta’s coast, favouring sandy beaches and their adjacent reefs. Currently, very little scientific data exists on the beautiful rays, leaving them exposed to threats and a lack of protection or management plans across their range. 

This project seeks to address the challenges faced by bull rays by publishing data collected by Sharklab-Malta over the past decade. Their research indicates that Malta serves as a crucial nursery ground for these rays. This underscores the importance of understanding their local population and implementing stronger policies and public awareness campaigns for their protection. Notably, no other location in the world has been identified as a potential nursery site for this remarkable species. 

In addition to data publication, this project aims to disseminate these significant findings to local stakeholders and advocate for conservation measures to safeguard the critically endangered bull ray. 

Our goal is to highlight the beauty and ecological significance of bull rays, inspiring Malta to take action, as it did with Great Whites in 1999, and be a leader in preserving our collective natural marine heritage. 


Malta Environment Foundation is supporting Sharklab-Malta in publishing their research by covering the publication fees. The Foundation is aiding in their writing process and will offer ad hoc assistance in identifying stakeholders for their workshop. Additionally, MEF is supporting Sharklab in logistics by helping them find the ideal venue for their workshops. 

Sharklab-Malta will: 

  • Publish a novel scientific paper using data they collected throughout the past decade 
  • Organise two stakeholder meetings to raise awareness and lobby for conservation measures 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with MEF to help shine a light on these truly magnificent creatures. Despite their shallow ecology, so little is known about them, let alone published in scientific literature, and we hope that this project will go some way as to reversing that trend, and to help the wider Maltese public fall in love with their resident baby rays as we have. The project also speaks to the impact that small groups of dedicated people can have on their local environment and local species, it can be small NGOs, amateur naturalists, even private companies, we can all have a far greater impact than we realise, especially when we work together.” – Charlie Matthews, Sharklab-Malta


Learn more about Sharklab-Malta here.

Image credit: Sharklab-Malta
Image credit: Sharklab-Malta