Angling records track the near extirpation of angel shark from two Irish hotspots

Published on
28. March 2019

Angling records track the near extirpation of angel shark Squatina squatina from two Irish hotspots

Samuel Shephard, Ciara Wögerbauer, Peter Green, Jim R. Ellis, William K. Roche


The angel shark Squatina squatina was historically common in coastal waters fromthe British Isles to north-western Africa, including the Mediterranean. Reported commercial land-ings from northern Europe reduced to near-zero before the species was added to the EU Prohib-ited Species list and subsequently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. S. squatina isencountered rarely in offshore trawl surveys, probably because of low spatial overlap with coastalpopulations and habitats. An alternative source of monitoring data is angling vessels, which canoperate in discrete inshore areas. Analyses of 2 unique > 40 yr time series of angler tagging andspecimen catch data from Irish waters, with catch and effort records from voluntary charterangling logbooks, reveal a sharp decline in S. squatina catches. Only 1 individual has been taggedsince 2011. Almost all reports were from Tralee Bay and Clew Bay (western Ireland), where anec-dotal sightings still occur. These historical hotspots may be significant to international angel sharkconservation efforts.

Endang Species Res, Vol. 38: 153–158, 2019, DOI 10.3354/esr00943


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