Scientists and conservation activists in Libya have launched the Angel Shark Project in Libya. This project aims to promote reporting of angel shark catch and identification in Libya, and highlight the importance of Libya as a hotspot for angel sharks in the Mediterranean sea.
In a global extinction risk review by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group the angel shark family has been identified as one of the most threatened shark species. Once common in the Mediterranean Sea, angel sharks have almost completely disappeared from their former range. The last known stronghold for one angel shark species (S. squatina) in the Atlantic is in the Canary Islands.
However, over recent years there has been an increase in reported sightings and fishermen records of all three angel shark species off the Mediterranean coast. Through an established social media network and an initial project focusing on fisher market surveys, it has become evident that Libya could a potential hotspot for all three angel sharks species, highlighting the need to focus work in the region. Especially waters in the Gulf of Sidra, Tocra, and Zuwara may be one of the last hotspots for Mediterranean angel sharks.
The initiative started online and found success on the Facebook platform, which prompted the organizers to take a further step and reach out to international organizations concerned with protecting sea life. Marine biologist Sarah Al-Mabruk, founder of the “Marine Biology in Libya” website explained to the Libya Observer that she and her team aim to spread awareness and promote reporting of angel shark catch and identification in Libya, to help better understand the most three critically endangered angel shark species living in the Libyan waters.
Read more about the project on the website of Save The Seas.