An Action Plan to save one of the world’s most threatened shark species from extinction was today unveiled by a partnership of leading conservation organisations.
The Angelshark Action Plan for the Canary Islands was drawn up by the Angel Shark Project – a partnership between ZSL, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and Germany’s Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig - Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity (ZMFK) - in collaboration with the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, the Shark Trust and SUBMON. The Plan sets out a 10-year roadmap designed to ensure a coordinated approach to conserve Angelsharks in the archipelago, the first such plan developed for this species.
ZSL marine conservationist Joanna Barker, lead author of the Angelshark Action Plan, said: “Given the restricted range for Angelsharks in European waters, we recognised a unique opportunity to develop a specific set of actions intended to safeguard the future of this Critically Endangered species. The Plan represents a new era for Angelshark conservation and will hopefully enable coordinated conservation to flourish across the Canary Islands.”
Dr Nicholas Dulvy, ZSL Fellow and Co-chair of IUCN Shark Specialist Group said; “Our research revealed that incidental catch by commercial and recreational fisheries, along with habitat loss and degradation, are the primary threats that face the species, with disturbance by divers and beachgoers also having an impact.”
“We hope that through the implementation of this plan, we will be able to achieve the vision it lays out – for Angelsharks in the Canary Islands to be abundant and protected in their unique stronghold.”
Launching alongside the Angelshark Action Plan is a new Angel Shark Sightings Map, designed to gather public sightings of the three Critically Endangered angel sharks found in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. This map allows citizen scientists to report sightings of angel sharks during dives, fishing trips or even at fish markets to help inform conservation and management.