The Angel Shark has at last been awarded protection in English waters under the Wildlife & Countryside Act. In December 2006 the Angel Shark was declared extinct in the North sea and is listed as "critically endangered" by the IUCN.
From April this year it will become illegal to target, kill, or injure an Angel Shark within six nautical miles of the English coast. This has been a long hard fought battle by the Shark Trust and other similar bodies, and the Trust is now delighted that a start has been made giving this beautiful creature the protection it so desperately needs.
A spokesman for the Shark Trust said, “the listing of the Angel shark is long overdue and we hope it is not too late to see some recovery of this species in our waters. Four species of large bodied skate were also proposed and these have not been accepted for protection despite also being critically endangered, we will be seeking a better explanation of why they have failed at this stage. We are also seeking clarification to this decision with regard to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish waters."
Recent assessments by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group rated the sharks of the North East Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea with the worst conservation status of all assessed regions with over 30% of the shark species in a threat category.
The Shark Trust believes that it is more essential than ever that concrete action is taken to prevent more species going locally extinct. We look to the UK government and to Europe, who are currently working on a Community Plan of Action for Sharks, to lead the way with effective, enforceable shark management plans.