Rare Angel shark found washed up on beach in North Wales

Angel sharks are classified as critically endangered. Credit: Media Wales

A rare shark has been found washed up on a beach in North Wales.

Considered to be one of the world's rarest sharks, Angel sharks are classified as critically endangered.

However, sightings over recent years suggest that a small population is living off the Welsh coast, including one on an Abersoch beach in Pen Llyn.A picture taken by a passer-by shows one of these rare sharks found dead on Traeth Trwyn Y Fach, near the Warren resort, last week.

These flat sharks (Squatina squatina) are often mistaken for skates or rays.

Confusingly, they used to be known in the UK as monkfish until the mid 20th century. The sharks spend most of their time camouflaged on the bottom of the seabed ambushing fish.A small number may be living off the Welsh coast, but their numbers have massively declined over the past century.

They used to be abundant across the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, however, years of habitat disturbance, pollution and incidental catch in fisheries, mean they are among the rarest shark species in the world.They can grow up to six feet in length weighing 70lbs, but the one spotted on Abersoch in Gwynedd was significantly smaller, measuring at around three-and-a-half to four feet.

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