The Shark Trust have been champions of science-based shark and ray conservation since 1997, striving to safeguard the future of sharks through positive change. We achieve this with science, education, influence and action. We have a wealth of expertise, knowledge & understanding in shark conservation matters and are proud to work with a wide range of partners and collaborators.
We took up the challenge to drive protection for angel sharks over a decade ago. What started with UK protections for the Angelshark (Squatina squatina) has led to coordinated action through an overarching conservation strategy and development of regional action plans with our partners in the Angel Shark Conservation Network (ASCN) - a collaborative network of likeminded researchers, NGOs, conservationists and advocates. Our current focus is on the three species of Critically Endangered angel sharks in the Mediterranean – for which improved protection is an urgent priority.
But there is much more to do. We want to ensure that right across the world, the 22 described species of angel shark are brought into the spotlight.
Angel sharks are among the most “at risk” of all sharks and yet remain an enigma. They’re not as well-known as many other sharks, and the different species are often not acknowledged in fisheries. This makes for a conservation headache of epic proportions.
We need urgent action for angel sharks. This starts with raising their profile and helping stakeholders to recognise and value the different species. Maintaining biodiversity is essential for ALL life.
Around the world there are 22 different species of angel shark. Not your average shark, the angels lie in wait, hidden in the sand or gravel, waiting for the opportunity to ambush unsuspecting prey. While this is a great strategy as a shallow water predator it leaves them particularly vulnerable to fishing and habitat degradation.
As a result, many species have suffered steep population declines and now face a high risk of extinction. Half of these species are now listed in a threat category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In fact, they’re the most threatened family of sharks.
Senior Conservation Officer, Cat Gordon: "Our conservation efforts currently focus on the 3 most threatened angel shark species in the Mediterranean, through the development of the Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan. But we're also developing a global ID guide to cover all 22 species. We want to connect with more scientists, researchers, conservationists, advocates and educators from around the world who are working within the range of the other 19 species. And we need your help to do it!"
- Translate ID guides and fisheries advisories into multiple languages focusing on areas where threatened species inhabit
- Support development of SubRegional Action Plans, in priority areas
- Launch International Angel Shark Day in 2020, with our partners in the Angel Shark Conservation Network (ASCN). A day to celebrate, discover, highlight research and focus attention on angel sharks around the globe.
- Produce resources to profile all species
- Produce a short educational animation highlighting the 22 species, distributed publicly but also to schools, aquariums and marine centres.
We know that an International Angel Shark Day won’t change the threatened status of angel sharks on its own. But it’ll act as a focal point and a stimulus for further conservation action for these beautiful and under-represented sharks. To better protect these species, conservation strategies and regional action plans are vital to connect stakeholders, identify regional threats and provide a framework for conservation action.
Every donation will support angel shark conservation and help us give angels their day.