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About Our Sharks

About Our Sharks

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Angel Sharks (Squatina squatina)

The Angel Shark is a flat shark species that can be found around the UK and Mediterranean. The Angel Shark is a temperate water bottom dwelling species found on the sea bed at depths of up to 150m. The shark prefers muddy or sandy bottoms where it lies buried with only its eyes protruding.

The Angel Shark is an ambush predator and will lie in wait for unsuspecting prey to venture close enough before being ambushed.  The Angel Shark feeds mainly upon fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

The Angel Shark was declared locally extinct in the North Sea in 2006, as a result of unregulated fisheries.   The sharks are caught by bottom trawls and utilized for fresh and dried salted for human consumption, oil and fishmeal.  As a result the Angel Shark is now listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Angel Sharks grow very slowly and mature only at a large size.  The result is that very few Angel Sharks reach maturity and breed resulting in an ever declining population.

For further information on our Angel Shark Breeding Programme, please click here.
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Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus)

Sand Tiger sharks are a sub-tropical shark species found in coastal regions around southern Australia, South Africa and the eastern seaboard of America. The Sand Tiger shark is a member of the mackerel shark family and can reach up to 3.2 meters in length. They prefer warm waters but can happily live in temperate climates making them a very popular aquarium shark.

Deep Sea World currently houses seven Sand Tiger sharks. The four female and three male sharks originally came from a number of sources including other aquariums.

The Sand Tiger shark was the first shark species to receive official protection; however they have recently been given greater protection in a move endorsed by the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group.

The Sand Tiger shark is included on the IUCN’s Red List of threatened species where they are listed as ‘Vulnerable’. However the population of Sand Tiger sharks that exist off Australia’s East Coast is now listed as critically endangered, facing a high risk of extinction.

Like most shark species the Sand Tiger is long-lived, takes several years to reach maturity and produces few offspring. Females only give birth to one or two pups every two years. This results in the slow recovery of the species.

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Tope (Galeorhinus galeus)

Tope is one of the world’s most wide spread sharks and is found all over the world in both temperate and warmer seas. Tope are an extremely fast swimming shark and can grow up to two meters in length. Tope are also known as Soupfin sharks, school sharks and snapper sharks.

The Tope is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  This is mainly due to over-fishing both by trawlers, commercial fisheries and sports fishermen.  Tope are caught mainly for meat, fins and liver oil.

Tope do not mature until around 10 years of age and then only breed every second or third year, interestingly enough the gestation period in Tope varies from 6 months in the UK to almost 2 years in South America.  This does however prevent the tope from increasing its rapidly decreasing numbers making the tope an extremely vulnerable shark species.

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