NOAA Proposes Endangered Listing for Three Angelshark Species

posted: 07/14/15
by: Danny Clemens

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is looking into listing three species of angelshark under the Endangered Species Act.

In a notice published Tuesday in the Federal Register, the agency announced that the sawback angelshark (Squatina aculeata), smoothback angelshark (Squatina oculata) and common angelshark (Squatina squatina) "warrant listing as endangered under the ESA".

The three bottom-dwelling sharks are found mainly in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Although they are classified as sharks, their flat, circular bodies bear a striking resemblance to that of a ray.

Common angelshark
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The common angelshark (Squatina squatina).
Philippe Guillaume via Wikimedia Commons

Various species of angelshark are already protected elsewhere in the world. The common angelshark population in the northeast Atlantic Ocean is considered Critically Endangered, and is afforded full protections in the United Kingdom under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The angelshark had little commercial value until the 1970s, when demand for the fish exploded.

In 2013, grassroots conservation group WildEarth Guardians filed a petition to have more than 80 species of marine wildlife listed under the ESA. NOAA found that 24 (including the three angelshark species) warranted further review. For the next 60 days, the agency will solicit public input regarding the proposed rule.

Click here to read the full notice in the Federal Register


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