Guarding Angels - Taking Action for Angel Sharks

by Shark Trust in Plymouth, England, United Kingdom

Guarding Angels - Taking Action for Angel Sharks
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One of our key goals is to better protect endangered species. And you can't get much more endangered than the angel shark family.

by Shark Trust in Plymouth, England, United Kingdom

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.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Limited Edition Angel Shark Pin Badge

A limited-edition angel shark pin badge - to wear with pride!

£10 or more

Shark Trust Certificate

A special certificate of thanks from the Shark Trust.

£15 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Signed copy of Sharks in Bristish Seas

A one off signed copy of Sharks in British Seas (second edition) by Richard Peirce. Donated by Richard Peirce

£20 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Signed copy of Orca by Richard Peirce

A one off signed copy of Richard Peirce latest book Orca - they day the Great White sharks disappeared. Kindly donated by Richard Peirce.

£20 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Signed copy of Nicole by Richard Peirce

A one off signed copy of Richard Peirce book - Nicole. The true story of a Great White Shark's journey into history. Donated by Richard Peirce.

£20 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Children's angel shark t-shirt

Children's angel shark t-shirt. Designed just for our Crowdfunder. Perfect for the shark loving child in your life!

£25 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Signed bundle of Richard Peirce books

A one off bundle containing 3 of Richard Peirce books, all of which have been signed by him. the bundle includes: Sharks off Cornwall & Devon Shark Attack Britain The UK Great White Shark Enigma

£30 or more

0 of 100 claimed

Angel Shark T-shirt

A limited edition angel shark T-shirt.

£50 or more

0 of 100 claimed

Limited Edition Angel Shark Adoption Pack

A limited edition angel shark adoption pack.

£150 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Shark Trust Membership

Shark Trust adult membership for 1 year plus all of the above.

£500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Signed Angel Shark Print

A signed print of a stunning angel shark

£750 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Lifetime Membership

A lifetime membership to the Shark Trust.

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