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Shark Trusts Seeking Information from Anglers

Apr 09,2009 SACN

The Shark Trust is a conservation charity that works to advance the conservation of sharks, skates and rays through science, education, influence and action. One route we endeavour to achieve this is by supporting responsible ‘catch and release’ angling practices which help to ensure the presence of these animals for many generations to come.

Anglers are often one of the first groups of people to identify changes in the marine environment and information supplied by the recreational angling community is important in shaping management measures to conserve fish stocks.

We are also working closely with the commercial fishing industry to encourage more sustainable fishing practices. Furthermore, now that it is illegal to retain Common, Black & White Skates and Undulate Rays in much of the EU’s water and species-specific landings are a commercial requirement, we are working to improve identification of species by developing detailed identification guides (see www.sharktrust.org/id ).

The process of developing these guides has raised many questions, some of which we hope that anglers can answer. Here are four of the biggest:

1. Thornback Ray thorniness: Thornback Rays (Roker) have differing levels of thorniness at different locations around the British Isles. We would like to know whether there are specific locations where Thornback Rays in your region are smooth or thorny ��" or do you get a mixture of both?

2. Undulate Rays: Undulate Rays are at the northernmost edge of their range on the southern coasts of England, Ireland and possibly Wales. However it is not known exactly how far north Undulate Rays extend. We would like to know where you catch Undulate Rays and also where you have caught them previously… Have you caught one in North Wales, Northern Ireland or the North Sea?

3. Cuckoo Rays: Cuckoo Rays are one of the most distinctive species of ray to be found in British waters. Although found right around the UK they seem to be more common in some locations than others. We would like to identify these areas, do you know of any hotspots?

4. Egglaying locations of skates and rays: The Shark Trust runs an ongoing project to record the eggcases that wash up on beaches around the country. We are working towards the identification of important egglaying regions and connecting them to the locations where eggcases wash ashore. Can you tell us specific locations important for egglaying skates and rays?

If you have any information to help us answer these questions please let us know via the forum or directly to my email ��" your information will assist in the creation of accurate and effective ID guides available to all (they will be available to download from the Shark Trust website in a few months time).

If you would like to know more about the project and the ID materials please email me via al.reeve@sharktrust.org. All information will be treated as sensitive and as such no marks will be passed on to third parties without the express permission of the angler.


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