Angular Roughshark - Oxynotus centrina
Status: Vulnerable … The adult female gives birth to 10-12 tiny little baby sharks
Location: Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean - found from South Africa to Norway.
Size: Usually between 50-100cm, but has been recorded reaching 150cm in length.
Habitat: In coralline and muddy habitats on the continental and upper slope between 100m and 600m in depth.
Little is known about this rare shark species. Its IUCN status is vulnerable, with bycatch in commercial fishing considered a significant threat. It has been reported that fishermen in the Mediterranean believe roughsharks to be bad luck and discard them immediately on capture. There is little fisheries data on the species, so it’s not known how many are caught as bycatch and then discarded out at sea. If not discarded, the angular roughshark is used for fishmeal, for its oil, or is smoked and dried for human consumption.
With improvements in the efficiency of bottom trawling in the Mediterranean Sea over the last 50 years, the angular roughshark has now become extremely rare there. There is little information available about the abundance of angular roughshark in the northeast Atlantic, but as deepwater fisheries have expanded in range and intensity, it is possible that the species has declined in this region too.
The angular roughshark is aptly named for its pointed head and fins, and the rough teeth-like scales which cover its body. It has a broad, flattened head, a short, blunt nose and two tall dorsal fins, which look a little like sails. The angular roughshark eats worms, crustaceans and molluscs, which it feeds on by using a suction technique.
Whether you think they’re cute as a button or hideously ugly - they deserve protection!
Did you know?
- Adult female angular roughsharks don’t lay eggs, but they give birth to well-developed baby sharks, known as pups. These pups are quite large, at between 21-24cm in length, and a female can have 10-12 pups in a litter!
- They have a large fatty liver which allows neutral buoyancy.
- Its name comes from its unusual pointed body shape and very rough scales.
What MCS is doing:
Lobbying for more and better management of offshore marine protected areas that should protect angular roughshark habitats;
Recommending seafood caught with minimal bycatch to chefs and restaurants, consumers and retailers;
Successfully campaigning for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which regulates European commercial fishing, and now working to make sure it is properly implemented.