Sharks and Rays in the Irish Specimen Report 2012

Helmut Nickel, Shark Year Magazine,
13. January 2013

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC) ratifies specimen and record (rod-caught) fish in Ireland.

The Committee was founded in 1955 and consists of representatives of the Irish Angling Federation, the Government Departments and official organisations interested in angling.

Each year, the ISFC publishes a report with a list of all big specimen fish submitted to it in the previous year.

The 2012 ISFC Report has just been published and here are some of the highlights concerning elasmobranch fish species :

Porbeagle shark ( Lamna nasus ) :

For conservation reasons porbeagle sharks have been suspended from the listings.
Previously, the specimen weight for porbeagles used to be 68,038 kg or 150 lbs.

Smooth-hound shark ( Mustelus spp. ) :

A genetic study of smooth-hound carried out by Dr. Edward Farrell found no evidence of the common smooth-hound ( Mustelus mustelus ) in Irish waters despite extensive sampling since 2009. Therefore ISFC no longer require a tissue sample for genetic analysis to support a claim for a smooth-hound.

School shark or tope ( Galeorhinus galeus ) :

The Committee’s first length-based specimen claim was received in 2012. It was a 160.5 cm long tope landed off Wicklow in September.

In 2009, the ISFC undertook to examine the possibility of a “Conservation Specimen” category for tope and blue shark. This category would be based on fish length and it would allow specimens to be released alive without the requirement for measuring weight on land, as is required under the existing ISFC rules.

A length-based specimen award commenced on a pilot basis for tope in 2011, with a required threshold length of 1.6 m or 160 cm ( Total length – TL ).

Now the Committee plans to introduce a similar length-based specimen category for the spiny dogfish in 2014 ( see below ).

Spiny dogfish or spurdog ( Squalus acanthias ) :

Spurdog (spiny dogfish) will be placed on the length-based specimen list from 2014.

The weight-based specimen system will continue to operate for spurdog in 2013 while the Committee determines an appropriate threshold length. ISFC requests that charter skippers and boat anglers use this time lag to prepare to implement the length-based specimen system.

Total Numbers of Elasmobranch Specimens ratified by the ISFC in 2012:

  • Spurdog ( Squalus acanthias ) : 80 specimens
  • Smooth-hound shark ( Mustelus asterias ): 45 specimens
  • Lesser spotted dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula): 14 specimens
  • Painted ray ( Raja microocellata ): 12 specimens
  • Blackmouthed dogfish (Galeus melastomus): 11 specimens
  • Greater spotted dogfish ( Scyliorhinus stellaris ): 10 specimens
  • Tope ( Galeorhinus galeus ): 4 weight-based and 1 length-based specimens
  • Blond ray ( Raja brachyura ): 3 specimens
  • Stingray (Dasyatis sp.) : 1 specimen

Heaviest ratified Elasmobranch Specimens in 2012 :

Blackmouthed dogfish (Galeus melastomus):
Date: 12. July 2012
Weight: 1.25 kg ( 2.75 lbs )
Length: 68.5 cm
Location: Red Bay
Angler: Cornelis Plomp
Bait: Mackerel

Lesser spotted dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula)
Date: 23. July 2012
Weight: 1.64 kg ( 3.63 lbs )
Length: 72 cm
Location: Red Bay
Angler: Hamish Currie
Bait: Crab

Greater spotted dogfish ( Scyliorhinus stellaris )
Date: 17. August 2012
Weight: 8.71 kg ( 19.20 lbs )
Length: 109 cm
Location: Kenmare Bay
Angler: Cornelis Intveld
Bait: Mackerel Fillet

Spurdog ( Squalus acanthias )
Date: 17. August 2012
Weight: 10.21 kg ( 22.50 lbs )
Length: 107 cm
Location: Red Bay
Angler: Paul Cooke
Bait: Mackerel

Smooth-hound shark ( Mustelus asterias )
Date: 13. July 2012
Weight: 6.35 kg ( 14 lbs )
Length: 108 cm
Location: Wicklow
Angler: Norman Dunlop
Bait: Crab

Tope (  Galeorhinus galeus )
Date: 20. October 2012
Weight: 27.30 kg ( 60.19 lbs )
Length: 167 cm
Location: Wicklow Bay
Angler: Sidney Kennedy
Bait: Mackerel

Blond ray ( Raja brackyura )
Date: 10. June 2012
Weight: 11.85 kg ( 26.13 lbs )
Length: 99 cm
Location: Red Bay
Angler: Hamish Currie
Bait: Whiting

Painted ray ( Raja microocellata )
Date: 22. October 2012
Weight: 5.75 kg ( 12.68 lbs )
Length: 89.5 cm
Location: Ferrypoint
Angler: Keith McGarth
Bait: Crab/Mackerel

Stingray ( Dasyatis pastinaca )
Date: 27. May 2012
Weight: 19.05 kg ( 42 lbs )
Length: 137.2 cm
Location: Tralee Bay
Angler: Jerry O’Connor
Bait: Crab

A PDF of the full Irish Specimen Fish Report 2012 is available HERE .

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