Sighting data of Mustelus mustelus in the Canary Islands

  • Fernando Espino (Creator)
  • José Antonio González-Orej (Creator)
  • Nestor Echedey Bosch Guerra (Creator)
  • Francisco J. Otero-Ferrer (Creator)
  • Ricardo Haorun (Creator)
  • Fernando Tuya (Creator)



These data were generated to investigate the distribution and population structure of Mustelus mustelus across the Canarian archipelago. This shark is widely found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and catalogued as 'Vulnerable' by the IUCN European assessment. Data on the distribution and population structure of this species across the islands of the Canarian archipelago, located along an east to west gradient in the north-eastern Atlantic, were collected by taking advantage of 'Local Ecological Knowledge', in terms of sightings in coastal waters. This source of qualitalitve and quantitative data (sightings) demonstrated that adults of M. mustelus has a significantly larger presence in the eastern and central, than in the western of the archipelago. Adult smooth-hound sharks were significantly more observed in sandy and sandy-rocky bottoms, with idividuals seen throughout the entire year, whereas juveniles aggregate on very shallow waters in spring and summer. Such aggregations requiere a special management strategy, as they pley a key role in critical life stages; these sites should be protected from human perturbations. We also suggest a temporal fishing ban between April and October, when individuals tend to concentrate on earshore waters. Because of the large differences in presence of this shark among the Canarian Islands, management of the species should be adapted to th specific peculiarities of each island, rather than adopting a management policy at the entire archipelago-scale. Overall, this study sets the basis for further investigation to promote conservation of this vulnerable shark in the study region.
Date made available27 Jun 2022

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