Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Rare shark born in Deep Sea World in UK first

Deep Sea World diver, Tina Aydon, with the shark pup
Image caption Deep Sea World diver, Tina Aydon, with the shark pup

A shark from an endangered species has been born in a Fife aquarium in what it said was a UK first.

The rare angel shark pup was born prematurely at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry on Thursday.

The centre said it was the first time the critically-endangered fish had ever bred successfully in the UK.

Aquarists have placed the creature into a special nursery tank where it is being constantly monitored. More pups are to be born from the mother.

Deep Sea World spokeswoman Aisling Thornton said: "As soon as the first pup was born it was very carefully transferred into its own display where it can be kept under observation.

"The first 24 hours are crucial and we are all just hoping for the best and keeping our fingers crossed.

Image caption More pups are expected from the mother angel shark

"The female appears to be in good condition and we are expecting more pups to be born."

The angel shark, which can grow to 6ft 6in (2m) in length, was declared extinct in the North Sea in 2006.

Its status was then upgraded to Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The aquarium said angel sharks grow very slowly and mature only at a large size.

As a result very few reach maturity and the population is declining.

They are also highly vulnerable to being caught as a by-catch through bottom trawls, set nets and bottom long lines.

Historically they have also been used both fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and in the production of oil and fishmeal.

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