The morning started cloudy but still 20 people went into the water, some did their first dive “bautizo” and others collected #marine debris form the water. Afterwards #angelsharkproject and #Poseidon Program was introduced in an informative talk about the conservation status of #Angelsharks and the importance of this species in the Canary Islands.
At first I was faced with confusing faces, people and divers in the Canary Islands see Angel Sharks regularly almost in every dive, depending on the dive spot. “It is not uncommon to see an angel shark” said one diver. However, Squatina squatina is locally extinct in almost its entire distributional range. This species seems to have restricted its distribution to the Canary Islands. It is speculated that it might be a separate population from the one along the african and european range. There is still much to investigate and find out about the spatial and temporal distribution of this species. So far, there is hardly anything known about the biology, reproduction and even less about the total population abundance. What is evident is that the Canary Islands are unique and extremely important for the conservation of angel sharks. Here we can find them in every island any time of the year. There seems to be a correlation between the water temperature an the migration patterns of the species within the islands, however, there is still much data lacking to truly confirm this.
Not only the IUCN Redlist has recognized the critical state of this species (Critically endangered) but also some local organizations are pretty active here. For example there is Alianza Tiburones Canarias that has recognized the importance of shark conservation in the Canary Islands and is trying to enforce the european law and stop activities such as sport fishing that might threaten the conservation status of species such as Squatina squatina.
Atiracan, another organization, is collecting signatures for a petition to make the Canary Islands a Shark and Ray Sanctuary. We had the pleasure to listen to their proposals regarding shark conservation and sign their petitions to the government.
Finally the event ended with a delicious Paella made by Victor, the director of Club Nautico El Burrero. It was a great day and I’m happy that I met so many motivated divers that are willing to support Angel Shark Project.
Thank you for this great day!