About iSharkFin

In collaboration with the University of Vigo, FAO is developing the software iSharkFin, an expert system based on machine-learning techniques for the identification of shark fins by their shape. Aimed at port inspectors, custom agents, fish traders etc, the user needs to take a picture of the fin and select some characteristics before automatically finding out what species is involved. 

iSharkfin is undergoing some final testing of the software.  A beta-version of ISharkfin is expected to be released by the end of 2014.  
For more questions, please contact info(at) and Monica.Barone(at) 

How iSharkFin will be used

1. Take a standard photo 2. Upload the photo and indicate the 4 main landmarks/points 3. Adjust the points traced by the software on the fin outline 4. Species (and probability of the likelihood) identified



The iSharkFin software will be complemented by a more traditional, document format containing identification keys, species fact sheets, methodology for the identification and training courses.

Target Species

Sixteen species will be made available for the first release of the guide.  By its final stage, FAO aims to include data on the fins of 56 species and species complexin the iSharkFin.  

  • Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
  • Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
  • Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini)
  • Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
  • Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena)
  • Porbeagle (Lamna nasus)
  • Dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)
  • Sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
  • Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)
  • Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
  • Blue shark (Prionace glauca)
  • Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)
  • Longfin mako (I. paucus)
  • Sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)
  • Alopias superciliosus
  • Alopias pelagicus










Future Developments

FAO is planing to develop a tablet application on the iSharkFin software and an e-book of the field guide.  

See some of the (possible) look of the tablet application...





Lindsay Marshall (Fisheries scientist, author)

Dave Ebert (Scientific supervisor)


Cástor Guisande González (University of Vigo, coordinator of the software development);

Jürgen Heine (University of Vigo, software developer);

Elisa Pérez Costas (University of Vigo, assistant in data collection);


Emanuela D'Antoni (scientific illustrator)

Luigia Sforza (desktop publisher)

Peter Psomadakis (FAO consultant, taxonomic revision and data collection)

Nicoletta De Angelis (scientific reviser)

Monica Barone (FAO consultant, editorial coordinator)

Johanne Fischer (FAO Senior Fisheries Officer, coordinator)