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September 30, 2014


BY: Oceana Web


© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell


The Canary Islands and their adjacent seamounts hold the most diverse elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) community of the whole European territory, with up to 79 species identified. Therefore, these islands are one of the main tourist destinations in the European Union being sharks and rays´ diving and sightings the main attraction. We can find a wide variety of species like the monkfish (Squatina squatina), an endangered species according to the IUCN; as many other elasmobranchs, it used to be common on the Peninsula but has been confined to this area due to overexploitation, bycatch and habitat destruction.

During this campaign, we have had the opportunity to observe several species of elasmobranchs, especially those living at great depth but we could also see some species in shallow areas (eg. spiny butterfly ray, round stingray, thresher shark, dogfish etc.) In fact, todays has been the day with more sightings so far, during the two dives conducted in the Mar de las Calmas, we saw three arrowhead dogfish (Deania profundorum), a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and again another bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus). Watching these sharks approaching through the camera, always moving at high speed but calmly at the same time, arouses excitement among the crew. This is one of the great moments of the campaign, and is a great challenge for our ROV technicians who always manage to take the best pictures.

Besides sharks, it´s worth mentioning a stunning and strange fish we saw yesterday in the immersion at Punta Canas. It was a Delichopterys, and what makes it so special is that its body is completely transparent and its internal organs and eyeballs can be seen in detail. Its pectoral fins resemble the tropical lionfish (Lyon fish). Such a finding left us all speechless.

Today the mooring has been a little earlier than usual, so that some of us took advantage and went to see an impressive area of solidified lava, poured over a small cliff in La Restinga. We all are in awe of what we have seen of this island so far.