Cyprus Mail

Cyprus designated a danger area for angel sharks

angel sharks

Cyprus has been recognised as a priority area for angel sharks, with all three Mediterranean species listed, but facing serious threats, according to Enalia Physis environmental research centre.

An announcement said that the research centre collaborates with the Society for the Protection of Turtles (Spot) and the iSea organisation to record angel sharks that have been accidentally caught during fishing activities.

They collect information on the sharks’ biology, distribution, mortality rates and by-catch locations in Cyprus and appeal for any records from sightings or accidentally caught angel sharks to be shared with them.

Angel sharks are a group of sharks in the Squatina genus, and though once they were common in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and Black Seas, many species are now classified as critically endangered.

This is due to a number of factors, including a lack of knowledge of their biology and habitat preference, low genetic diversity, their capture as bycatch during fishing activities, illegal and unregulated fishing and trade (poaching), non-compliance with existing legislation and weak enforcement of regulations.

Sharks belonging to this family have flattened bodies and broad fins that give them a strong resemblance to rays.  They are considered as smaller sized sharks because they grow up to only two metres, and can weigh around 35 kg, and are generally not considered dangerous or aggressive towards humans.

The announcement finally noted that the team’s efforts are carried out under the programme “Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan Phase 2: Implementation”, funded by the Shark Conservation Fund and coordinated by The Shark Trust.


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