Squatina albipunctata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Squatiniformes Squatinidae

Scientific Name: Squatina albipunctata Last & White, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Angel Shark
Taxonomic Source(s): Last, P.R. and White, W.T. 2008. Three new angel sharks (Chondrichthyes: Squatinidae) from the Indo-Australian region. Zootaxa 1734: 1-26.
Taxonomic Notes: This species (prior to the publication of Last and Stevens 1994) had previously been confused with the Australian angelshark (Squatina australis), which is restricted to the inner continental shelf waters of southern Australia (Last and Stevens 1994). The two species overlap in range between about Newcastle (central New South Wales) and eastern Victoria (Last and Stevens 1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd+3bd+4bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-20
Assessor(s): Pogonoski, J., Pollard, D.A. & Rigby, C.L.
Reviewer(s): Lawson, J. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Eastern Angel Shark (Squatina albipunctata) is an eastern Australian endemic species of the outer continental shelf and upper slope at depths of 35–415 m. It has been heavily fished and utilised as trawl byproduct in the southern half of its range. There has been a 98–>99% reduction of this species over three generation lengths, based on commercial trawl fishery data that was obtained during fisheries-independent trawl surveys from 1976–1977 and 1996–1997. These data only represent about a quarter of the total range of this species, and captures are rare from the areas of its northern range (where the species' abundance is suspected to be lower than in the central and southern parts of its range).

The Eastern Angel Shark is assessed as Vulnerable as it is marketable bycatch, there have been large population declines documented in one quarter of its total range, and the fishery responsible for the declines remains active with no conservation measures currently in place for this species. The Eastern Angel Shark potentially qualifies for a higher threat category, based on known declines where data are available, and therefore should be monitored throughout its range.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Eastern Angel Shark is an eastern Australian endemic species distributed from the Cairns region, Queensland, southwards to Lakes Entrance, Victoria (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):415
Upper depth limit (metres):35
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no estimates of population size of this species but population declines of 96% in their relative abundance have been reported for the central-southern New South Wales part of its distribution over two decades (1976–77 to 1996–97; Graham et al. 2001).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Eastern Angel Shark occurs mainly on the outer continental shelf and upper slope at depths of 35 to 415 m (Last and Stevens 2009). There is limited information on its biology; it attains 130 cm total length (TL) with males mature by 91 cm TL and females at around 107 cm TL; size at birth is about 27–30 cm TL (Graham et al. 1997, Graham 1999, Last and Stevens 2009, K. Graham, The Australian Museum, pers. comm., 2003). Like the Australian Angel Shark (S. australis), this species is presumably lecithotrophic viviparous with litters up to 20 young (Michael 2001), although there is no known specific data on litter sizes in the literature. Gestation period is unknown but a similar species, the Pacific Angel Shark (S. californica), has a gestation period of 10 months (Michael 2001). Generation length is also unknown for this species, but the Pacific Angel Shark has an estimated generation length of 23 years (based on age data from Cailliet et al. 1992).
Generation Length (years):23

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The flesh of angel sharks is excellent eating and is marketed as angel shark, boneless fillets and monkfish (Last and Stevens 2009).

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 (T.I. Walker, Department of Primary Industries Victoria, pers. comm. March 2003).

Demersal trawling within the New South Wales Prawn Trawl Fishery and the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) in southeastern Australia between northern Victoria and central New South Wales continues to threaten its populations in the southern part of its range where it is thought to be more abundant than the northern part of its range.

Graham et al. (2001) documented a 96% decline (32.6 kg/h in 1976–77 to 1.3 kg/h in 1996–97) in catches of this species across all surveyed areas in fishery-independent trawl surveys from the Sydney area (central New South Wales) to the Eden/Gabo Island Area (southern New South Wales/Victoria border). Calculated over three generation lengths, this decline could range from 98–100% over three generations (69 years; from 1976–2045). In addition, significant reductions in the mean sizes of large Eastern Angel Sharks (referred to as Squatina sp. nov. A) were observed (Graham et al. 2001).

The area of these declines represents about a quarter of the total range of this species. It is rarely captured in the northern half of its range; it was taken as bycatch (and discarded) in low numbers in the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF; deepwater component of the eastern king prawn sector; C. Rigby, unpubl. data) and has not been reported as a bycatch of any other sectors of the ECOTF (Kyne 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures are in place for this species. It may occur in some spatial closure areas and marine protected areas.

Citation: Pogonoski, J., Pollard, D.A. & Rigby, C.L. 2016. Squatina albipunctata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42729A68645549. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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