Nationwide shark & ray assessment

Baited Remote Underwater Video System (BRUVS) is a relatively novel, non-invasive survey technique that is increasingly being used to assess marine and aquatic ecosystems throughout the world. The survey method offers a unique insight into understanding the abundance, biodiversity and behaviour of shark and ray species in a multitude of habitats.

LAMAVE first began using BRUVS in 2015, as a baseline research technique to assess the diversity and abundance of sharks and rays in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.  In 2016 we partnered with the Global Fin Print Project as part of an international effort to assess the current status of elasmobranchs in reef sites worldwide.


Focus areas

The main focus areas for BRUV surveys are Apo Reef Natural Park and the island municipality of Cagayancillo. Initial surveys were also conducted in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. 

LAMAVE researcher Ryan Murray deploying a BRUV System with the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Rangers.

LAMAVE researcher Ryan Murray deploying a BRUV System with the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Rangers.


Assessing shark and ray abundance and diversity. Baited Remote Underwater Visual Surveys were first conducted in 2015 in collaboration with the Tubbataha Management Office. The systems alone helped identify the presence of 15 species of sharks and rays within the waters of the park - data that helped bring the total confirmed species of the park to 23.    


Apo Reef Natural Park contains the largest contiguous reef system in the Philippines and is the second largest Marine Protected Area after Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. In 2016 with the assistance of the rangers our team conducted the first assessment of marine megafauna including sharks, rays, whales, dolphins and turtles in Apo Reef Natural Park.



Cagaynacillo is an archipelagic municipality of Palawan, located in the Sulu Sea. Within the municipality, around 130km form the main island, is Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the most successful Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. In 2016 initial BRUV surveys by LAMAVE indicated moderate populations of both reef and pelagic species of sharks and rays. The current focus is assisting and supporting the local community in determining the viability of establishing a dedicated ‘shark sanctuary’, which will allow the residents of Cagayancillo to successfully manage their marine resources in a sustainable manner. 

Caught on Camera

Check out some of the species our team have encountered using BRUVS across the Philippines.