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Squatina australis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES SQUATINIFORMES SQUATINIDAE

Scientific Name: Squatina australis
Species Authority: Regan, 1906
Common Name(s):
English Angelshark, Australian Angel Shark, Monkfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S., Cavanagh, R.D. & Walker, T.I. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
A relatively abundant angel shark, endemic to the continental shelf (0 to 130 m) of southern Australia (central New South Wales to southern Western Australia). Valuable in fisheries and vulnerable to demersal trawls. Large areas of its range are untrawled, and observer data in the South East Trawl Fishery (Sydney, New South Wales to Great Australian Bight, South Australia) show no significant decline in abundance of Squatina australis from 1992 to 2001. The species is assessed as Least Concern, but there is a need to continue to monitor catch rates (standardized for effort), particularly in the South East Trawl Fishery, to ensure they remain stable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has been recorded from central New South Wales (NSW) (around Newcastle) to southern Western Australia (Rottnest Island). It is common in Bass Strait and off surf beaches along the eastern seaboard (Last and Stevens 1994).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is estimated to be relatively large (thousands of mature individuals), but the number and size of subpopulations is unknown.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Last and Stevens (1994) reported the habitat as continental shelf waters down to 130 m. This species is a demersal carnivore feeding on fish and crustaceans (Last and Stevens 1994). It inhabits sand and mud bottoms, often in seagrass beds or adjacent to rocky reefs (Michael 2001). Males attain approximately 105 cm total length (TL) and are mature by 90 cm TL; females attain at least 115 cm and are mature by 97 cm (Graham 2001). Maximum size is reported to be 152 cm (Compagno 1984) and approximately 15 kg (Graham 1999), but specimens over 115 cm were rare off NSW between 1976 to 1977 and 1996 to 1997 (Graham 1999). Ovoviviparous (Compagno 1984), with litters up to 20 young (Michael 2001), although there is little data on litter sizes. Gestation period unknown but a similar species (S. californica) overseas has a gestation period of 10 months (Michael 2002). Gives birth in the autumn months (Michael 2001). This shark spends its day buried, ingesting anything that moves too close, but it emerges from the sand or mud at night and actively searches for food (Michael 2001).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Angel sharks are not very susceptible to line or mesh netting techniques, but are susceptible to trawling as they lay on the bottom (Terry Walker, pers. comm. March 2003). The main threat to this species is demersal trawling (South East Trawl Fishery (SETF)) in south-eastern Australia between 136 and 153° longitude. In the observer program of the SETF (between 1992 and 2001), most catches were in late autumn to winter months and catch per unit effort was highest between eastern Tasmania and central NSW (Terry Walker, pers. comm. March 2003). Gillnetting in the Southern Shark Fishery in waters less than 75 m depth total catches of 12 tonnes (carcass weight) in Victoria and Tasmania between 1994/95 and 2000/01 (Walker et al. 2002).

The flesh of angel sharks is excellent eating and is marketed as angel shark, boneless fillets and monkfish (Last and Stevens 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are in place for this species. However, there are large areas that are not trawled within its range.

Citation: Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Squatina australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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