Angel sharks are among the most threatened species of sharks globally. Twenty-two species have been identified globally so far, with three species being present in the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean populations of all three species have been assessed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to the steep decline of their populations as a result of their historical and current overexploitation by demersal fisheries. 

This study provides the first predictive distribution map of the three angel shark species in the basin, while critical areas for the conservation of the species were identified through a systematic spatial conservation planning analysis. 

The analysis revealed low overlapping between the existing MPA network and critical areas for the distribution of the species, primarily in Greece and Turkey, while 20% of the critical areas for the distribution of the species overlap with Fisheries Restricted Areas of the region.

According to the authors, these results highlight the need for creating MPAs focusing on shark policy recommendations that can secure better protection of angel sharks through the enforcement of the current legislations and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders.

Giovos et al. (2022) Strengthening angel shark conservation in the Northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10:269.