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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 38:153-158 (2019)  -  DOI:

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

Samuel Shephard1,*, Ciara Wögerbauer1, Peter Green1, Jim R. Ellis2, William K. Roche1

1Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin D24 Y265, Ireland
2Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK
*Corresponding author:

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

KEY WORDS: IUCN Red List · Overfishing · Bycatch · Elasmobranchs · Skates and rays · Marine Protected Areas

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Cite this article as: Shephard S, Wögerbauer C, Green P, Ellis JR, Roche WK (2019) Angling records track the near extirpation of angel shark Squatina squatina from two Irish hotspots. Endang Species Res 38:153-158.

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