Smooth-hound shark

IDENTIFYING FEATURES

It is grey above and paler underside, with a few scattered dark spots on the upper flanks.

Scientific name:  Mustelus mustelus
Common names:  Smooth-hound shark, hound shark
Family:   Triakadae
Size:    Can grow up to 1.6m

 

DISTRIBUTION

Mediterranean and West Africa, down to South Africa.

 

HABITAT

They are found from the shore to 350m, usually near the bottom. Pupping occurs in sheltered bays, and the juveniles remain in these areas.

 

DIET

Feeds on crabs, lobsters, prawns, mantis shrimps, octopus and small bony fish.

 

REPRODUCTION

This species is viviparous, with up to 15 pups born after a gestation period of about 12 months.

Length at maturity:   males 95 to 130cm, females 125 to 140cm total length
Age at maturity:  males 9 years, females 11 years
Maximum age:  males 17 years, females 24 years

 

CAPTURE

Usually caught by shore and ski-boat anglers, long-lining and trawling.

 

REGULATIONS

Daily bag limit:  10 per day
SASSI:   Orange list for line-caught, red list for trawl-caught

 

CONSERVATION

Significant declines have occurred. Exploitation of this species is increasing off South Africa and stock assessment indicates that current catch levels are unsustainable. Confusion exists about the identification of this species, limiting the reliability of voluntary monitoring and tagging data. They may receive protection in some marine reserves. Size and fishing effort control methods may be most effective.

VULNERABLE

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