AIM OF THE ANGEL SHARK PROJECT: WALES

Safeguarding one of the world’s rarest sharks through fisher-participation, heritage and citizen-science.

 

AIM OF THE ANGEL SHARK PROJECT: WALES

Safeguarding one of the world’s rarest sharks through fisher-participation, heritage and citizen-science.

 

AIM OF THE ANGEL SHARK PROJECT: WALES

Safeguarding one of the world’s rarest sharks through fisher-participation, heritage and citizen-science.

IMPORTANCE OF WALES FOR ANGELSHARKS

The Critically Endangered Angelshark, once common across the western British Isles, is a rare species of shark that glides across the seabed with elongated fins.
After suffering widespread decline across its range over the last century, there have been an increasing number of sightings of this rare species along the Welsh coast in recent years, giving hope for it’s future.

WHAT ARE ANGELSHARKS

Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) are large, flat-bodied sharks that can reach 2.4m in length belonging to the angel shark family (Squatinidae), which rank as the second most threatened family of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) in the world. Angelsharks are normally found submerged in sandy habitats in coastal waters.

In Wales, Angelsharks are also known as monkfish or angel fish, and they are sometimes mistaken for a ray or mis-recorded as Anglerfish.

Check out at www.angelsharknetwork.com to understand major threats and conservation projects for the angel shark family across their range.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Follow guidelines

It is illegal to target Angelsharks, but if you accidentally catch one when fishing follow our best practice guide to release it in a good condition.

Report Sightings

Information from you will help us to better understand the ecology of Angelsharks in the waters around Wales. We encourage anyone with historic, current and future records of Angelsharks in Wales to report their data.

Sightings can be uploaded directly to the Angel Shark sightings map

Volunteer

We have a number of opportunities to join the project as a volunteer citizen scientist!

  • SHARE your Angelshark stories, memories or photos
  • JOIN the Angelshark History Roadshow
  • VOLUNTEER as a historical researcher
  • SIGN UP to a Dive for Angels survey

Social media

Keep an eye out on our social media pages for upcoming events and opportunities to learn more about Angelsharks in Welsh waters. 

HOW ARE ANGELSHARKS PROTECTED IN WALES

  • It is illegal to intentionally disturb, target, injure or kill Angelsharks within 12 nautical miles of Welsh and English coastlines (Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)
  • For commercial fishers, it is illegal to target, retain, tranship or land Angelsharks for all EU and third country vessels in EU waters. All discards >50 kg must be logged. (Council Regulation (EU) No. 2017/127)

FOUR MAJOR PROJECT AREAS

FISHER ENGAGEMENT

Fishers in Wales are stewards of Angelshark conservation, providing vital data on current and historic encounters of this species. Fishers are most likely to accidentally encounter Angelsharks in Welsh waters as bycatch when completing their normal fishing activity, therefore working in collaboration will aid collection of important data as well as opportunities to conduct further scientific research. It is important to note that direct targeted fishing of Angelsharks is illegal.

Regular contact will be maintained through informal events to help raise awareness of the species and the promotion of the  which was produced in collaboration with fishers. The guidance provides information on how to handle and reduce the impact on Angelsharks that are accidentally caught as well as how to report the capture.

During this project, fisher data will improve the understanding of the population of Angelsharks in Welsh waters and in turn contribute to safeguarding the species.

HISTORY OF ANGELS

Angelsharks are still very rare in Wales, so we need your help to discover the story of this rare shark and its Welsh connection!  You can help the project in the following ways:

Share your Angelshark stories, memories or photos to improve understanding of Angelshark ecology in Welsh waters by contacting the team.

Join the Angelshark History Roadshow and meet the project team as it travels around Wales from January to March 2019. Bring your Angelshark photographs, memories or information about the fishing industry when you were growing up and see how it helps discover the story of Angelsharks in Welsh waters.


Volunteer with our History of Angels research project, to unearth clues in local libraries, archives and museums. We will train a team of citizen scientists in archival research and guide them through a 3 month research project to scour local libraries, archives, historic magazines and museums for information on Angelsharks and other shark, skate and ray stories.

Information captured through this project will be digitalised and used to create a History of Angels iBook and display exhibit to inspire generations to learn more about Wales’ rich maritime heritage.

CITIZEN SCIENCE DIVE & SNORKEL SURVEYS

The Angel Shark Project: Wales are working with Sea Search North Wales to recruit citizen scientist divers and snorkelers to get involved with ‘Dive for Angels’ surveys and collect data at key areas for Angelsharks in Wales. Data collected by citizen science divers will provide vital information on the status and ecology of Angelsharks.

 

Please contact angelsharks@zsl.org if you want to be involved

WALES ANGELSHARK ACTION PLAN

The project will end by bringing all stakeholders together to develop the Wales Angelshark Action Plan, highlighting key steps to secure the future of Angelsharks in Welsh waters.

The action plan will contribute to the wider Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Angel Shark Conservation Strategy

ANGEL SHARK PROJECT: WALES TEAM

Project Lead

Joanna Barker

Project Manager

Ben Wray

Project Coordinator

Jake Davies

ANGEL SHARK PROJECT: WALES STEERING GROUP MEMBERS

  • Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
  • Zoological Society London (ZSL)
  • Welsh Government
  • Shark Trust
  • Welsh Fishermens Association
  • Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers
  • North Wales Wildlife Trust
  • Sea Search North Wales                                                                                    
  • Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig
  • National Waterfront Museum
  • People’s Collection Wales                
  • Men’s Sheds Wales
  • Ageing Well in Wales Programme
  • Heritage Lottery Fund

The project will gather data on Angelsharks across Wales, with focused stakeholder engagement in five key areas:
North Anglesey;
the Llŷn Peninsula;
Porthmadog to Aberarth;
Fishguard to Milford Haven;
Swansea to Porthcawl

This project is supported by Welsh Government and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

CONTACT US



Photos used on this webpage c. Michael Sealey and Visit Wales