Putting the Spotlight on Mediterranean Angelsharks

Bonn, 4 December 2019 - Today, more than 20 collaborating partners including the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) have launched the Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan. It provides a framework for conservation action for Angelsharks in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean is a hotspot of extinction risk for chondricthyans (sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras), making it a priority region for conservation action. Of the 73 species of Mediterranean chondrichthyans assessed by IUCN, 50 per cent of rays and 54 per cent of sharks face an elevated risk of extinction, with Angelsharks an example of one of the families where all species present in the region are threatened.

In 2017 Squatina squatina was listed in Appendix I of CMS, which includes Endangered species that shall not be fished and for which Parties are requested to restore and maintain critical habitats and to minimize threats to prevent the species from going extinct.

Living in coastal waters and growing to over 1.5 metres long, Angelsharks are at risk from fishing and habitat degradation. Three species of Critically Endangered Angelsharks are present in the Mediterranean – Sawback Angelshark (Squatina aculeata), Smoothback Angelshark (Squatina oculate), and Angelshark (Squatina squatina). Despite protections in place, these species remain exposed to fisheries pressure.

Working with an array of organizations from within the Angel Shark Conservation Network and across the Mediterranean, as well as with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), CMS and the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (SPA/RAC), the Shark Trust has led on the development of the Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan. This roadmap is designed to focus efforts to help restore these enigmatic species to robust populations in the region.

With over 20 coastal states and territories, the complex nature of the Mediterranean creates further need for highly collaborative action to build capacity for Angelshark conservation. As such, a series of Sub-Regional Action Plans will be developed to facilitate further coordinated action. These will focus on sub-areas that are high priority regions for Angelsharks having factored in threats, contemporary sightings, capacity etc. Direct threats in each sub-region will vary, meaning that actions must be tailored accordingly, and regional stakeholders engaged. This Action Plan will be presented to CMS Range States to provide opportunity to develop an annex including high priority activities which need to be implemented on a governmental level by CMS Parties.

With fisheries and habitat degradation identified as predominant threats to Angelsharks in the Mediterranean, the priority goals of the Regional Action Plan are focused on these two threats. In addition, an underlying goal focuses on the implementation of legislation and regulations to ensure both the species and their critical habitats are better protected.

The work to deliver the true potential of this plan will require careful coordination, and the Mediterranean Angel Sharks: Regional Action Plan should be considered as an invitation and an opportunity for governments, stakeholders and NGOs to collaborate and tailor the future for these Critically Endangered species.

The initiative is part of the CMS Concerted Action for Angelsharks which was adopted at COP12, and which was sponsored by the Principality of Monaco, which also hosted the 3rd Meeting of the Signatories to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MOU MOS3).

The following institutions participate in the Angelshark Project: Canary Islands, Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie (INAT), Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (INSTM), iSea, Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA), Marine Biology in Libya, National Research Council, Nature Link, Save the Med Foundation, Submon, University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Zoological Society of London.


Vision of the Mediterranean Angelsharks: Regional Action Plan

Mediterranean Angelsharks are restored to robust populations fulfilling their ecological roles in healthy ecosystems.


VISION - Des populations robustes d’anges de mer sont rétablies en Méditerranée et remplissent leurs rôles écologiques dans des écosystèmes sains.

VISIÓN - Los angelotes del Mediterráneo son recuperados hasta poblaciones robustas que cumplen su función ecológica en ecosistemas sanos.

الرؤية - استعادة أسماك قرش الملاك المتوسط قوتهم السكانية لكي يؤدون أدوارهم البيئية في النظم الإيكولوجية السليمة


GOAL 1 - Fisheries-based Angelshark mortality is minimized in the Mediterranean

GOAL 2 - Angelshark habitat is identified and protected

UNDERLYING GOAL 3 - National legislation for Angelsharks is established, implemented and enforced


OBJECTIF 1 - La mortalité des anges de mer causée par l’activité de pêche est réduite en Méditerranée

OBJECTIF 2 - L'habitat de l’ange de mer est identifié et protégé

OBJECTIF SOUS-JACENT 3 - Une législation nationale pour les anges de mer est établie, mise en œuvre et appliquée


OBJETIVO 1 - La mortalidad de tiburones ángel basada en la pesca se minimiza en el Mediterráneo

OBJETIVO 2 - Se identifica y protege el hábitat de los tiburones ángel

OBJETIVO SUBYACENTE 3 - Se establece, se implementa y se hace cumplir la legislación nacional para los tiburones ángel


الهدف 1 - خفض معدل وفيات ملاك سمك القرش المستندة إلى مصايد الأسماك في البحر المتوسط.

الهدف 2 - تحديد موائل سمك قرش الملاك وحمايته.

الهدف الأساسي 3 - وضع التشريعات الوطنية لأسماك قرش الملاك وتنفيذها وإنفاذها.


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Last updated on 04 December 2019