Photo credit: Andy Murch
The Spiny Dogfish, Squalus acanthias, is listed as ‘VULNERABLE’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This relatively small shark is principally found in coastal waters of the eastern and western Atlantic, the southern coasts of Australia and New Zealand, the eastern and western North Pacific, and the eastern South Pacific.
The Spiny Dogfish is targeted as a valuable commercial species and suffers high levels of mortality due to accidental by-catch in other fisheries. Although previously naturally abundant, this shark is vulnerable to overexploitation because of its late maturity, low reproductive capacity, and long generation time. It also has the longest pregnancy of any animal. Two subpopulations in the northwest and northeast Atlantic Ocean are considered to be at particularly high risk.
Despite several decades of warnings of unsustainable fishing pressure and reported steep stock declines, very few conservation or management measures are in place for the Spiny Dogfish, while measures that are in place have been relatively ineffective. Perhaps the only exception is in New Zealand, where quotas have been introduced to limit catches to sustainable levels.
To learn more about Spiny Dogfish, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.