Here at Puerto Rico Diving in Gran Canaria we are very fortunate to often see Angel Sharks during our dives.
Angel Sharks (Squatina Squatina) are listed as Critically Endangered by the ICUN, and it is suggested that a large proportion of the remaining population of Angel Sharks are found around the Canary Islands. So here at Puerto Rico Diving we think ourselves pretty lucky that we get to encounter Angel Sharks during our dives.
Angel sharks are strange looking creatures which can often be confused with a skate or a ray. In fact they are a true shark species. They have a long, flat body with large pectoral fins and two smaller dorsal fins. More often than not, when diving during the day you will find Angel Sharks hiding on sandy bottoms, either digesting their meal or waiting for the next one to come along. Angel Sharks are masters of disguise, they wriggle themselves down into the sand, and with a flap of their fins, cover themselves in sand. This can make them very difficult to spot, meaning you have to keep an extra sharp eye out to spot them. During the winter months, when it is colder, you have more chance to see Angel Sharks swimming around; they swim at a relaxed pace, unless they feel threatened and will inevitably pick up the pace. As their name suggests Angel Sharks are amongst the most placid species of shark in the world. (Their name comes from the shape of their body when looking at them from above.) Every dive with an Angel Shark is a special encounter due to their endangered status. That is why every encounter should be respectful of these beautiful creatures, whether it be to leave them in peace hiding in the sand or keeping a respectful distance whilst they are swimming around during our dives.
Have a look at a video we have taken of an Angel Shark during one of our dives at Tufia.
For more information on Angel Sharks and conservation efforts in the Canary Islands check out the Angel Shark Project (https://angelsharkproject.com) You can even report your sightings of Angel Sharks on their website, which helps them keep track of how many are being spotted around Gran Canaria.