The Mouse Catshark is a species of catshark member of the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean.
Biology and Description
This species has a firm body with a rather long, blunt snout. The nostrils are divided by triangular flaps of skin in front. The eyes are horizontally oval and equipped with nictitating membranes. Both dorsal fins are similar in shape and size with rounded tips. The pectoral fins are large and broad. The pelvic fins are distinctive, being large and wide with an evenly rounded margin. The anal fin is large and angular. The caudal peduncle is cylindrical and the caudal fin is low; with a small lower lobe and the ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The dermal denticles are small and overlapping. This shark is plain brown with a light colour on the underside. This species reaches a maximum length of 63.0 cm TL, with males maturing from 50 to 63 cm TL. Females size at maturity is unknown. Reproduction is oviparous, females have two oviducts, with one egg maturing inside at a time. The young hatch between 8 – 9 cm TL. The diet of this catshark consists mainly of shrimp and other crustaceans, bony fishes, and cephalopods.
The Mouse Catshark is a small bathydemersal, deepwater species known from the continental slopes and reported at depths of 380 – 1,250 m. This species is found off the coast of Iceland to the Faroe Islands, and more recently it has been found off Scotland, the Hebrides Islands, Ireland, France and Spain. In the eastern central Atlantic, it is found off Morocco and the western Sahara.
The European Union Fisheries Council established a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for this species in 2007 (CEC 2012). This TAC was gradually reduced and in 2010 set at zero. In 2011, the allowable bycatch was also reduced from 10% to 3% of the 2009 TAC and in 2012 it was further reduced to zero (ICES 2013). Additionally, the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission Recommendation 7 (2013) requires member Parties to prohibit vessels in the Regulatory Area from directed fishing for deepwater sharks. Further research should be conducted to clarify its taxonomic status.
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