July 17, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

The last British Angel

Update ::

THE Marine Management Organisation (MMO) the fishing watchdog for England and Wales has presented the Natural History Museum in Plymouth with a rare (dead) angel shark.

The shark was mistakenly being sold as a more common fish, but officers recognised it as a protected species. In April 2008 the angel shark was given full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1984 and is listed as "critically endangered".

SSACN – What a pity they ignored its plight for so long

District Marine Officer, Julian Roberts, said  "We are always concerned when a protected species is landed, and have contacted the fisherman – who it is believed accidentally landed the shark as by-catch – to make him aware of the restrictions."

SSACN – But the politicians, fisheries managers and Marine Officers knew exactly what they were doing in allowing the total depletion of the species – that was no accident.

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A commercial fisherman has netted an endangered shark off Plymouth which experts believe could be one of the last of its kind in UK waters.

Original article here.

The large angel shark was brought ashore at the city’s Barbican Fish Quay market on Tuesday. National Marine Aquarium experts said it is the first time the species has been seen in a UK fish market since 1998.

Fishermen contacted the aquarium to notify them of the accidental catch — a mature male angel shark about 1.2 metres long.

John Crouch, of the Plymouth aquarium, said: "Globally this species is listed as critically endangered and it was thought to have been fished to extinction in the North Sea in the 1990s.

"This may well be the last of its species ever to been seen in UK waters."

He said angel sharks are especially vulnerable to bottom trawling as they like to inhabit shallow waters closer to shore and are caught accidentally by a number of different fisheries.

and added: "The angel shark is especially vulnerable due to its very long life span, around 35 years, and the fact that they do not mature until they are in their teens.

"That’s a very long time to evade being caught when each fishable part of the North Sea is trawled seven times each year. It is thought that there are still populations of this species around the North of Africa and off the Canary Islands which is perhaps where this one came from." John said most native shark species have declined by up to 90 per cent since the beginning of the 20th century due to over fishing.

Posted in: Shark Bites
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