|Scientific Name:||Haploblepharus fuscus|
|Species Authority:||Smith, 1950|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable B2ab(iii) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer(s):||Cavanagh, R.D., Fowler, S.L., Stevens, J.D., Pollard, D., Dudley, S. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)|
Haploblepharus fuscus is distributed along less than 1,000 km of coastline. This catshark appears to be highly site specific, with a fragmented population. The species' estimated area of occupancy is less than 2,000 km². It appears to be an abundant inshore shark, commonly caught by rock and surf anglers, taken as discarded bycatch in recreational fishing activities, and is generally regarded as a nuisance by the fishermen, and persecuted as such. It has not been seen in other inshore fishery activities. The most inshore of all the Southern African endemic catsharks, it is restricted to a very narrow band of habitat. Its endemicity and very narrow nearshore distribution means that it is imperative to monitor the abundance of the species and the health of its preferred habitat, as abundance has not been quantified and fishing related threats are potentially high. A continuing decline in the quality of its inshore habitat is inferred as a result of heavy human utilization, warranting an assessment of Vulnerable.
|Range Description:||H. fuscus endemic to a relatively small stretch (less than 1,000 km) of the South African coastline, ranging from Storms River mouth, eastern Western Cape, to just south of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a rare vagrant west of the Storms River mouth, with one record from the western Western Cape (Bass et al. 1975; Human 2003, 2007). This inshore highly site-specific species' estimated area of occupancy is less than 2,000 km².|
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||There is anecdotal evidence that these catsharks are highly site-specific and that the population is very sub-structured, suggesting that it may be severely fragmented.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
H. fuscus prefers inshore rocky reef habitats. All specimens examined by Human (2003, 2007) were collected very close to shore (rock and surf angling), with no records of specimens being caught by offshore fishing activities.
Very little of the life history is known for H. fuscus. Maximum size is reported at 73 cm total length (TL) (Compagno 1984). Males are juvenile at 43.8-46.0 cm TL, adolescent at 49.5-54.3 cm TL, and mature at 55.0-64.9 cm TL. Females are adolescent at 49.6-56.8 cm TL, and mature at 60.9-63.1 cm TL. The juveniles of this species are scarce and there appears to be an unknown habitat that is used by H. fuscus for egg laying, and where juveniles spend that stage of their life history (Human 2003, 2007). Other members of this genus produce a single eggcase per uterus which is assumed here for this species.
Persecution from recreational anglers and potential loss of habitat are the greatest threats to this inshore, restricted endemic. It appears not to be taken by other inshore fisheries, suggesting a very shallow habitat preference for this species, giving rise to this sharks potential vulnerability to habitat degradation. Survival rates from recreational angling, where it is a common bycatch within its range, are unknown. This shark is released alive during angling competitions, but this situation my not hold true in other forms of recreational angling, as is seen with other species of catshark in South Africa. This species is also occasionally used in aquaria, however, there is no directed fishery for this species for the aquarium trade at present (Human 2003, 2007).
This species' inshore habitat is subject to heavy and increasing human utilizations, including extensive recreational diving and sport and commercial fishing along with coastal housing development, boating, commercial shipping, holiday-making, beach utilization and extensive pollution and habitat degradation of inshore environments.
|Conservation Actions:||The biology of this species is virtually unknown, which is of concern given that this is an inshore shark and caught with relatively high frequency by shore anglers in the Eastern Cape. The gathering of biological data for this species should be considered a priority given that it is an endemic with a restricted range, with a habitat preference that is in a zone that experiences significant fishing pressure (Human 2007). Recommend that recreational catches be monitored. Education and awareness is recommended, to reduce/prevent persecution.|
|Citation:||Human, B. 2009. Haploblepharus fuscus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 March 2015.|