Joanna Barker, ZSL Europe Conservation Project Manager, blogs about organising an Angel Shark Conservation Workshop to safeguard the future of three Critically Endangered species.
There are moments when working as a conservation biologist where you feel an overwhelming sense of excitement when looking through your plans for the year. As such, 2016 is a very important and exciting year for the Angel Shark Project. Together with the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Shark Trust, we are organising an Angel Shark Conservation Workshop in June to safeguard the future of three Critically Endangered angel sharks in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Basin.
What is an angel shark?
Many people haven’t heard about the weird and wonderful family of angel sharks, let alone are aware that following decades of decline the three species found in European waters are now extinct from much of their former range. In 2014, the angel shark family (Squatinadae) were identified as the second most threatened of all the world’s sharks and rays. But there is hope. Just off the coast of Africa, lies an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean called the Canary Islands, where Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) can still be regularly seen.
The Angel Shark Project
A group of dedicated conservationists joined together in 2013 and formed the Angel Shark Project; a collaboration between the Zoological Society of London, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig . We have been working in the Canary Islands for the last three years to collect ecological and population data in this last remaining Angelshark (S.squatina) stronghold, whilst engaging with local communities, researchers and government to raise awareness and deliver conservation action.
Angel Shark Conservation Workshop
The Angel Shark Project, IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Shark Trust have organised the Angel Shark Conservation Workshop in June in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The workshop outputs will guide the next ten years of work to safeguard the future of these Critically Endangered species.
Stakeholder representatives from all sectors will attend (researchers, non-governmental organisations, local government, Canary Island government, Spanish government, sport fishers, divers and shark advocates), with a focus on developing an Angelshark (S.squatina) Action Plan for the Canary Islands. At the end of the workshop, we will also start to develop a European Angel Shark Conservation Strategy, using information provided by researchers across Europe.
The three major goals of the workshop are:
- Conservation of the Angelshark (S.squatina) in its last stronghold of the Canary Islands is improved as key stakeholders adopt and work to deliver the actions set out in the Angelshark Action Plan.
- A European Angel Shark Conservation Strategy is developed to bring together the best available knowledge, identify and address threats, disseminate information about the three Critically Endangered angel shark species that occur in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Basin (S.squatina, S.aculeata and S.oculata) and to secure wider legislative protection throughout their range.
- A strong network of individuals/organisations is developed, who work together and commit to deliver the outputs of the Angel Shark Conservation Workshop.
If you have a particular interest in angel shark, data and information to contribute or wish to know more about the angel shark conservation network then please email us.
We are hugely grateful to all our funders, who are making this workshop possible: Disney Conservation Fund, Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Fondation Ensemble, BIAZA National Aquarium Conference Fund and EcoAqua.
Select a blog
Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.
Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit
Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.
A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.
See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.
Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.
Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!
Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.
Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.
Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.
One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.
From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.
Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica
Amur leopard conservation blog
Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!
Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.
The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.
Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.