Introducing our News Digest! Featuring a selection of the latest news stories and research on all things shark, skate and ray from around the world. Enjoy.

The Naked Shark

26 August

A bizarre looking catshark found off the coast of Sardinia has baffled scientists. Yes, it's a shark with no ‘skin’, and no teeth! This ‘naked’ Blackmouth Catshark is the first of its kind to be discovered. And, amazingly, has survived without its fundamental tooth-like skin of dermal denticles, or its teeth! Showing us just how much there is still to learn about shark biology.

Majestic Blue Sharks Come Face to Face with Divers...

26 August

Groups of divers and snorkellers around Cornwall and Devon have had some amazing encounters with Blue Sharks in the last few weeks! We're fortunate that various migratory sharks, including Blues and Basking Sharks visit our waters during the warmer months.

To help ensure a safe encounter, check out our Basking Shark Code of Conduct. You can also click here to find out more about British Sharks on our website.

Shark Nurseries in River Lagoons

25 August

An incredibly diverse group of sharks and rays are using a particular river lagoon in Florida as a nursery area. Sixteen different species, including the Critically Endangered Smalltooth Sawfish, Bull Sharks and Atlantic Stingrays have all been recorded in the southern Indian River Lagoon.

As human impacts increase, so do the environmental pressures on systems like this one. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring and management, to help conserve these populations and their habitat.

And hot of the press… Florida has just announced a new conservation site to protect 600 acres of wildlife habitat! Great news for Smalltooth Sawfish, manatees and other species!

The Locals of the Seychelles

24 August

Manta rays usually migrate far and wide from their regular feeding sites. But Reef Mantas in the Seychelles seem to have made themselves quite at home!

According to scientists, the vast majority of these mantas don't stray far. And so, could benefit from the protection of existing marine protected areas (MPAs) of the islands! They also provide a great opportunity for long-term behavioural monitoring.

'What in the Heck was that?': Fisherman Shocked to Haul in Long-Nosed Chimaera

22 August

Check out this amazing Long-Nose Chimaera that a rather surprised fishermen pulled up when fishing off Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Visit our chimaera page to find out more about these mysterious animals.

Life in the Slow Lane – Tracking Tailbeats of Tiger Sharks

19 August

Just as we can use a ‘FitBit’ to record our daily steps, scientists can track the tail beats of a shark. A recent study has found that Tiger Sharks actually spend most of their time slowing swimming in a yo-yo fashion from the bottom to the surface.

It's predicted that these large predators take it slow to conserve their energy. Storing their explosive power for when the next meal arrives.

IUU Fishing

17 August

Illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, known as IUU fishing, is an ongoing problem impacting sharks all over the world.

IUU fishers operate without management or catch records. This makes it difficult to know the true impact on shark populations, and can lead to overfishing. A new report by TRAFFIC explains more. And how unmanaged competition between fishing vessels has forced local fishers to turn to shark fishing.

We're working with our partners to support the push to clamp down on IUU activities happening in different parts of the world.

Saving the Angels of the Sea

12 August

A five-year action plan was launched for one of the world’s rarest sharks – the Angelshark. We were thrilled to contribute to developing this latest addition to the Angel Shark Regional Action Plans with Angel Shark Project Wales. The plan is being rolled out by Natural Resource Wales next month.

In Wales, the Critically Endangered Angelshark (Squatina squatina) has historically been misreported as monk fish or angler fish. They've consequently been overfished for generations. But now they're recognised as a shark of significant scientific and cultural importance.

This action plan will help implement science-based management and research, vital for a safeguarding such a highly threatened shark.

► Find out more about our work saving angels

Sharks Don’t Stay Inside the Lines

12 August

In recent weeks there's been a lot of talk about the impact of fishing around the Galapagos Islands. A fleet of around 300 vessels have been reported operating just outside the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that surrounds the Galapagos’ Marine Protection Areas (MPAs).

As these vessels are in international waters, they're not technically encroaching on the EEZ. Marine Protected Areas can be a fantastic tool to allow marine ecosystems to recover from human impacts, such as overfishing. Yet, as with other MPAs, migratory sharks and rays are oblivious to lines on a map, and so migrate beyond the relative safety of MPA boundaries.

The level of shark bycatch taking place in international waters remains a serious concern. We're continuing to work collaboratively with our partners to advocate for implementation of existing regulations and management for species with no catch limits in the high-seas.

► Find out more about our No Limits? campaign to stop uncontrolled shark fishing

Message in a Bottle

6 August

Can a bottle of seawater tell you if sharks are around? Yes! Sharks, just like other animals, constantly shed DNA in tiny bits of skin, mucus, blood as well as faeces into their surrounding environment. This floating environmental DNA (eDNA) soon breaks down. But, if collected quickly, it can tell you what sharks have recently been in the area!

This technique is being used to track the seasonal presence of sharks around the world, including Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whale Sharks, White Sharks and even Largetooth Sawfish!

eDNA research is a great tool to help scientists monitor and track shark populations, essential in helping us to understand and manage them. Check out the latest study on Blacktip Reef Sharks and the full paper.

Video Reveals Locally Extinct Shark in Brazilian Oceanic Islands

We believe science should always be at the heart of shark conservation. And that science can come in more forms than ever before.

Scientists can use baited remote underwater stereo-video systems (BRUVs) to non-invasively gather real-time shark population data. Around a small group of islets in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, scientists have filmed a Galapagos Shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis). A shark that was previously regarded as being locally extinct to the area! 

Shark Mad Media during Shark Week?

We love to tell people about sharks. All day, every day. But the media also love nothing better than to sensationalise shark stories. And during US Shark Week, media coverage goes, well, shark-mad!

The media can be a powerful tool that influences the public on sharks, their conservation, and the threats they face. But, is the media telling people the same ‘truth about sharks’ as we are?

We love this report by Shiffman et al. Explaining how an oversimplified view fed by the media can lead to widespread public misunderstanding of these diverse, often elusive creatures.

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Banner image: Angelshark © Michael Sealey