sfpa angelsharks protected status

The SFPA has issued a notice to remind the public of the Protected Status of Angelsharks following Galway sighting this week. Photo: Declan Quigley, SFPA

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), Ireland’s competent Authority for the enforcement of Sea-Fisheries Law, have issued a reminder to the public regarding the reported sighting of an angelshark off the West Coast of Ireland. 

Angelshark is designated a Prohibited Species for all EU and third country vessels in EU waters (EU Regulation 2019/1241). It is prohibited to target; retain; tranship and land the species. The most common sanctions imposed for breaching this regulation include criminal cases for landing prohibited species, points for serious infringements, and so on. 

Any commercial fisher who encounters them must release them safely back into the sea as soon as possible, and they are strongly encouraged to record them as bycatch in their logsheet.  Some commercial vessels have tagged them over the past decade.  These details help with the assessment of the angelshark populations. 

Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) are among Ireland’s rarest native (as opposed to migrant) fish. They are critically endangered worldwide. They have been reduced to a couple of areas in Irish waters – Tralee Bay being the most notable.  Only between one and a few are seen in Irish Waters in any year.  The only place in European Waters where they are found in any significant numbers are in the Canary Islands.  They are a flattened shark that looks more like a skate or ray than a “typical” shark.  Females can grow to a maximum length of 2.4 m, and the males to 1.8 m.

The ban on nets in Tralee Bay and a large area off the Galway and Mayo coast protects endangered species such as angelsharks, as well as crawfish. Please see a link to Fisheries Information Notice:  https://www.sfpa.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=LldkarvhACk%3d&portalid=0&resourceView=1

If you have any concerns regarding fisheries control, please contact the SFPA through our Confidential Line channels. Call our Confidential Line on 1800 76 76 76. Send us an email to [email protected]. Alternatively, complete our Confidential Report form.

Source: Press Release

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