Help ZSL save Angel Sharks in The Canaries

| March 18, 2015

The Zoological Society has been shortlisted for funding by the European Outdoor Conservation Association to help conserve the Critically Endangered Angel Shark in the Canary Islands. The project is one of 21 in three categories that the public can vote for with the winner of each group receiving €30,000. Anyone and everyone can vote but only one vote per device. VOTING CLOSES 23rd of March.

Link to vote:

Twitter: please use #vote4angels

Details of project

Project name: Angel Shark Conservation, Canary Islands

Project partner: Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The Critically Endangered angel shark, once widespread throughout Europe’s seas, is now extinct from much of its historic range. One last stronghold remains in the Canary Islands, however, a rapidly expanding sportfishing community using lethal handling techniques is threatening their survival.

This project will work closely with the sportfishing community in Lanzarote, distributing a best practice guide to catch and release, training them to minimise handling time, stress and damage to any angel sharks they accidently encounter during their routine fishing activities. The project will also work with thousands of divers, training them to become effective citizen scientists, abiding by an angel shark code of conduct, and inspiring them to actively help conservation by submitting angel shark sightings to the Poseidon Programme.

Combining the records from the sport fishing and diving communities will reveal previously unknown ecological data on the distribution and abundance of this secretive species. This will be used to identify critical angel shark habitats and formulate the basis of a robust and evidence-based angel shark conservation strategy thus ensuring the survival of the angel shark in Europe.

How the funding would be used

The support of the Canary Island diving community will be a vital to conserve the Critically Endangered angel shark. In the first year of our project, 22 dive centres have actively reported angel shark sightings to the Poseidon Program, thus providing important ecological data for this species. With funding from  EOCA we hope to increase the number of angel shark sightings reported to Poseidon and our work with  the diving community will be enhanced by:

  • Creating a code of conduct to give divers practical tips on what to do when an angel shark is
  • Producing a striking angel shark video to raise awareness of the importance of the Canary
  • Distributing a log book stamp to thank divers who report angel shark sightings

With EOCA funding we will also expand our work with the sportfishing community to Lanzarote, to help reduce angel shark mortality across the archipelago. In Lanzarote, we will meet with sportfishers across the island and distribute the best-practice guide to catch and release. We will also create an angel shark handling pack with the equipment sportfishers need to reduce angel shark mortality.

We will also develop an angel shark conservation network, to bring together angel shark researchers around the world to share information and aid conservation efforts.

Category: Other Organisations, SSACN Announcements

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