Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Squalus acanthias - Spurdog

Habitat & Distribution

This small demersal shark lives near the sea-bed on soft bottoms from 10-200m in

temperate and sub-arctic waters (7-15\'baC) of the North Atlantic. At times it can be a very common fish in coastal and offshore waters of northern Europe. It is commoner in the more northerly waters around the British Isles, where commercial landings are sold as Rock Salmon or ' Flake' . This species is typically encountered in large to very large, unisexual schools and large numbers were frequently caught (10,000 stone/64,000kg) were landed at Newlyn in one week in 1983). Consequently there has been a decline in the biomass of stocks in recent years due to over-exploitation by various fisheries. This, together with the late maturation, low reproductive capacity and long generation time characteristic of this species has put it at risk. The Spurdog is on the IUCN (2008) Red List as a Vulnerable species and the northeast Atlantic population is now considered to be Critically Endangered. It has recently been added (2008) to the UK List of Priority Species.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.