Squatina squatina has suffered a vast fragmentation of its former distribution range, leaving the Canary Islands as a unique “hotspot” where this Angel Shark can be regularly encountered. However, there is hardly anything known nor published about this shark.
IUCN Red List Category : Critically Endangered
Population trend : decreasing (IUCN Red List, 2006)
1) European Comission (EC 43/2009, Annex III Part B states “Angel shark in all EC waters may not be retained on board. Catches […] shall be promptly released unharmed to the extent practicable […] Fishers shall be encouraged to develop and use techniques
and equipment […]for rapid and safe release of the species”.
2) EC Regulation No. 1185/2003 Prohibition of the removal and retention of fins and the discard of shark carcasses at sea.
3) UK Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), added as strictly protected animal.
IN THE CANARY ISLANDS…
Threats: Illegal fishing activities, sport fishing, disturbance by divers, habitat degradation
Protection: None !
What should be done? It is highly recommended (IUCN Red List) to assess the conservation status of this species in the Canary Islands.
The Angel Shark Project: Aims at providing vital information on the ecology and distribution of this shark in the Canary Islands, that may be used to implement rapid conservation measures.
HOW? Involving recreational divers in our research program. Sightings of Angel Sharks throughout the Canary Islands can be submitted via our ePOSEIDON tool.
Throughout this project we have been able to identify a wide distribution and abundance of this species within the Canary Islands archipelago. We were also lucky to find breeding populations with many newborns and juveniles. We are working on a strategy to better assess the population trends and protect this new generation of Angel Sharks.
WANT FURTHER INFORMATION?
CHECK OUT THE OSPAR BACKGROUND DOCUMENT FOR THE ANGEL SHARK