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Near disappearance of the Angelshark Squatina squatina over half a century of observations
Hiddink, J.G.; Shepperson, J.; Bater, R.; Goonesekera, D.; Dulvy, N.K. (2019). Near disappearance of the Angelshark Squatina squatina over half a century of observations. Conservation Science and Practice 1(9): [1-9].
In: Conservation Science and Practice. Wiley: Hoboken. ISSN 2578-4854, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Elasmobranchii [WoRMS]; Squatina squatina (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    historical ecology, local ecological knowledge, reconstruction of changes in abundance

Authors  Top 
  • Hiddink, J.G., more
  • Shepperson, J.
  • Bater, R.
  • Goonesekera, D.
  • Dulvy, N.K.

    Marine extinctions are particularly difficult to detect and almost all have been discovered after the fact. Retrospective analyses are essential to avoid concluding no‐extinction when one has occurred. We reconstruct the Angelshark population trajectory in a former hotspot (Wales), using interviews and opportunistic records. After correcting for observation effort and recall bias, we estimate a 70% (1.5%/year) decline in abundance over 46 years. While formerly widespread, Angelshark distribution contracted to a central core of Cardigan Bay. Angelshark declined almost unnoticed in one of the best‐monitored and most intensively managed seas in the world. Bycatch may be minimized by limiting netting on shingle reefs in Cardigan Bay. We provide the first quantitative time series to reveal the timing and trajectory of decline of Angelshark in the coastal waters of Wales and uncover historical centers of abundance and remnant populations that provide the first opportunity for the focus of conservation.

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