Saltwater Life


Saltwater Life is a marine research and conservation organisation based in the UK, with global project collaborations.

Sharks are the focal species of Saltwater Life’s founder; Dr Lauren Smith, who is committed to undertaking and communicating the latest scientific research on these incredible animals. Understanding sharks, their biology, evolution and environment is vital to their effective conservation and management. The presence of sharks within ecosystems is a good indication of a healthy well balanced habitat.


Sharks first evolved over 400 million years ago, surviving the earth’s greatest mass extinctions. They are superbly adapted to their environment, showing remarkable diversity and variation in physical appearances as well as behaviour. They are intelligent and inquisitive with unique physiology including additional senses, and a unique immune system. They inhabit every ocean on the planet and yet despite this, they are under an ever increasing pressure which challenges their ability to survive. WHY?

Commercial over-fishing, the practice of shark finning, the incidental capture by fisheries targeting other species (sharks as by-catch), the recreational fishery (shark trophy hunters), the demand for sharks products such as shark liver oil (added to cosmetics and healthcare products) and shark cartilage (touted as a cure for cancer) and the destruction of the aquatic environment. All of these factors are contributing to the rapid decline of shark populations, with an estimated 73 million sharks being killed each year. As most shark species grow slowly, mature late and only give birth to relatively few pups, the population simply cannot sustain such intensive fishing pressures, which result in many species numbers being severely depleted, populations recover very slowly if at all. The need for effective management practices to safeguard sharks is urgent. Saltwater Life combines the practical aspects of diving and underwater photography with scientific research and communication to adhere to its mission to Dive, Discover and Defend sharks worldwide.

Saltwater Life is also available to provide specific advice and information to sea users and developers about the conservation status, biology and habitat usage of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) around the UK coastline which should be assessed in relation to planned projects.

If you would like to get in touch regarding consultancy services or to inquire about research, volunteering or collaborative projects please contact Lauren on;