Investigation of juvenile angelshark (Squatina squatina ) habitat in the Canary Islands
The identification and effective protection of nursery areas is critical for elasmobranch conservation. Research on the angelshark (Squatina squatina ) is in its infancy, and is particularly challenging during the early life stages, in part because of their rarity, but also because of their camouflage and cryptic behaviour. Focused research on the identification and protection of juvenile angelshark habitat in their stronghold of the Canary Islands has been identified as a priority action to help safeguard the future of this species. This study combines citizen‐science data, satellite imagery, and focused snorkel surveys to complete a first evaluation of juvenile angelshark habitat in the region, upon which further research can be built.
One confirmed nursery area, 13 potential nursery areas, and 21 beaches needing further study were identified in this study, based on the existing nursery area criteria. The results were used to develop eight key recommendations on how local and national governments can better protect juvenile angelsharks in the Canary Islands. Further research is urgently needed to confirm whether other beaches in the archipelago meet the nursery area criteria.