Three angel shark species are present in the Mediterranean, Sawback Angelshark (Squatina aculeata), Smoothback Angelshark (S. oculata), and Angelshark (S. squatina), all classified as Critically Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species due to past population reductions and several local extinctions. To enhance their protection and provide a framework for their conservation, the “Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan” (MedRAP) was developed as well as a SubRegional Action Plan for the regions of Aegean and Crete (SubRAP22/23).
The recent discovery of several records of angel sharks in Cyclades and Dodecanese Islands, indicate that the area is potentially highly important for all three species. In this context, the project “Strengthening Angel Shark Conservation in the Southern Aegean Sea” aimed at:
- improving and strengthening the conservation of angel sharks in Greece, and
- advancing elasmobranch conservation in the country.
Through this project further research was conducted to support future conservation actions and policies. More specifically, the following actions were implemented:
- identification of potential Critical Angel Shark Areas, based on the habitats in which angel sharks were sighted,
- prioritization of conservation activities at key areas that lack sufficient protection,
- organizing of five capacity building workshops on angel shark identification, good practices, and data collection, targeted towards competent authorities and local stakeholders,
- translation and distribution of angel shark handling guides and identification plates,
- two meetings with the competent Ministry and all relevant national authorities for discussing the adoption of the MedRAP and the SubRAP 22/23 and the transposition of the Recommendation GFCM/42/2018/2.
The project “Strengthening Angel Shark Conservation in the Southern Aegean Sea” was implemented by iSea, in collaboration with the Shark Trust, with the support of the Angel Shark Project, and funded by the Shark Conservation Fund. Budget: $22,000.