Apristurus melanoasper 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Scyliorhinidae

Scientific Name: Apristurus melanoasper
Species Authority: Iglésias, Nakaya & Stehmann, 2004
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Fleshynose Catshark, Black Roughscale Catshark
French Holbiche Noir
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 2 May 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May 2016).
Taxonomic Notes: The Australian form of this species is provisionally identified as Apristurus melanoasper, although it is possible that the North Atlantic and southwestern Pacific forms represent distinct species (Last and Stevens 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-17
Assessor(s): McCormack, C., Iglésias, S. & Kyne, P.M.
Reviewer(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Bigman, J.S.
Contributor(s): Walls, R.H.L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Fleshynose Catshark (Apristurus melanoasper) has a widespread but patchy distribution in the Northeast Atlantic, Northwest Atlantic and Southwest Pacific. The Southwest Pacific form (Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia) is provisionally considered to the same species as that in the North Atlantic, although these may represent distinct species.

The Fleshynose Catshark is a deepwater species found on upper continental slopes and seamounts at depths of 512−1,520 m, but generally >1,000 m. It is an uncommon bycatch of commercial deepwater trawlers, and the majority of its habitat is outside the reach of fisheries. Given the little overlap between the species’ range and deepwater fisheries, it can be inferred that the risk of fisheries exploitation affecting the population is low, therefore the species is assessed as Least Concern globally.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Fleshynose Catshark has a widespread but very patchy distribution. In the Northeast Atlantic it occurs off France, the British Isles and the Faroe Islands. In the Northwest Atlantic it is known from off the northern United States of America. It is also known from the Southwest Pacific and Eastern Indian, including New Zealand, New Caledonia and southern Australia (from off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia to off Sugarloaf Point in New South Wales, including Tasmania) (Iglésias et al. 2004, Nakaya et al. 2008, Last and Stevens 2009, Ebert and Stehmann 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Faroe Islands; France; New Caledonia; New Zealand; United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland); United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – northeast; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1520
Upper depth limit (metres):512
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Population size and trends are unknown for this species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs on continental mid-slopes and seamounts at depths of 512–1,520 m, but generally > 1,000 m (Iglésias et al. 2004, Nakaya et al. 2008). Known from depths of 900–1,275 m in the Southwest Pacific (Last and Stevens 2009). The maximum recorded size from the North Atlantic is 76.1 cm total length (TL; Iglésias et al. 2004) and from Australia is about 79 cm TL (Last and Stevens 2009). Males and females smaller than 47.3 cm TL are immature. Adolescent males are 54.8−57.7 cm TL and females are 57.6−59.9 cm TL. Mature males are >61.5 cm TL and females are >59.6 cm TL (Nakaya et al. 2008). Reproduction is presumably oviparous, like other Apristurus species, but very little is known of the biology.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilised nor traded commercially.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is an uncommon bycatch of commercial deepwater trawlers. Areas of the Northeast Atlantic (e.g., Rockall Trough) were subject to a fairly rapid increase in deepwater fishing activities in the 1990s with overall concern for the sustainability of deepwater fish stocks (Gordon 2003). Since then the deepwater fishery effort in European waters has decreased and the potential for expansion into deeper waters is unlikely for now. This catshark is generally recorded deeper than 1,000 m and the depth range may extend deeper than currently known, offering some refuge from fishing pressure. It is still a poorly known species and may share the limiting life history characteristics of other deepwater sharks that make them vulnerable to depletion. Therefore any future expansion in deepwater fishing effort could negatively affect this species. Further information is required on deepwater fishing activities in the North Atlantic, including catch and bycatch levels, effort and trend monitoring.

Most areas of southern Australia below 700 m are closed to trawling (Penney et al. 2014) and so it is expected that bycatch levels would be low to negligible.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Where taken, catches require monitoring, particularly as deepwater fisheries expand worldwide.

Based on advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to end fishing for deepwater sharks, the European Union Fisheries Council established a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for deepwater sharks in 2007. This TAC was gradually reduced and in 2010 it was set at zero. In 2011, the allowable bycatch was reduced from 10% to 3% of the 2009 TAC and in 2012 it was further reduced to zero (CEC 2012, ICES 2013).

Off southern Australia, most areas deeper than 700 m are closed to trawling (Penney et al. 2014). This species may occur within the Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network off southern Australia.

Citation: McCormack, C., Iglésias, S. & Kyne, P.M. 2016. Apristurus melanoasper. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42700A70708776. . Downloaded on 27 October 2016.
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