Sharks found dead on Gower and Isle of Wight beaches

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 15 July 2014

MCS has been sent evidence of two separate incidents where shark species have been found on the shore in mysterious circumstances.

MCS has been sent evidence of two separate incidents where shark species have been found on the shore in mysterious circumstances. One, on the Gower, is of whole specimens of smooth hounds and nurse hounds. The other, on the Isle of Wight, is made up of several fins and heads removed from similar species. “It is highly unusual to have two incidents reported, in distant locations, at pretty much the same time” Sam Stone, MCS fisheries officer says. “One shows the remains of approximately 60 smooth hounds dumped in the river Medina on the Isle of Wight. The photos from the Gower show three species of similar shark stranded and injured”. “It’s unclear how either of these events occurred, but these species can often be caught as bycatch in trawl and gill net fisheries, often to end up as bait. At times of the year these species can aggregate in schools, making them particularly vulnerable to being caught. It is certainly a sad sight to see these sharks end up like this”. Common smooth hounds (Mustelus mustelus) are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Starry smooth hounds (Mustelus asterias) are rated 4 on MCS FishOnline. The two species of smoothhound share the same habitat, and are often caught together and misidentified. These species bear live young. Nursehound (Scyliorhinus stellaris) are rated 4 when longline caught on MCS FishOnline, and listed as near threatened by the IUCN. Unlike the smooth hounds, which give birth to live young, the nursehound (actually a species of catshark from the Scyliorhinid family) lays eggs enclosed in smooth, rounded cases, known as mermaids purses. Read more: FishOnline Daily Mail article

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