Two sharks dead and mutilated in Marsalforn Bay as divers are appalled

A pair of Bluntnose Sixgill sharks appeared dead and mutilated in Marsalforn Bay in Gozo yesterday morning.

Photos were submitted to Lovin Malta by a dismayed diver who spotted the two sharks yesterday morning and at first thought he was looking at two turtles in distress.

“I first saw the sharks floating in Marsalforn Bay yesterday around 11am. At first I was worried it might be two turtles in distress. It was difficult to identify them for sure from the shore,” a- he told Lovin Malta.

Disclaimer: graphic images below

He then called for help from the Nature Trust Wildlife Rescue, “and it turned out to be two sharks”. He called the incident “very sad”.

Apparently the bodies of the sharks were also cut off and only the head and some organs remain.

The man who originally spotted the floating sharks is also a diver himself, and he expressed his sadness and disappointment at the incident and his appreciation for the sharks.

“I had the privilege of diving with sharks abroad. It was one of my most memorable diving experiences. They are magnificent creatures and not a species that deserves such negativity. They are very important for the health of our seas,” the diver said.

“I’ve only seen two very small catsharks around Gozo in 16 years of diving here. And I still hope to see more. So I was very sad to see the sharks being discarded like that,” the diver told the press room.

The man who reported the incident also contacted Sharklab-Malta, from where he got more information about the breed of sharks.

“They are a very deep water species and only occasionally come into shallow water. They’re caught as bycatch and they’re not good to eat, so they’re often thrown away like that,” he said.

And unfortunately, this breed of sharks is not protected in Maltese waters.

Lovin Malta also spoke with marine biologist Alan Deidun, to help understand the situation and what else it could have caused.

“These sharks were quartered as they could have been for sale. Sharks, unfortunately, are regularly sold in the market or are regularly discarded due to their frequent bycatch,” he explained.

“It is indeed a shame given their slow reproduction and the endangered status of many species populations – the species featured here is potentially a six-gilled shark, also known as the cow shark, which we know very little,” he said. concluded.

This is not the first time that this breed of shark has been found dead in Malta; of the 35 species of Malta sharks currently and historically documented in Maltese waters, only a small percentage of them are protected by Maltese or European legislation.

The total number is 13 out of 35 species. The Sixgill Bluntnose shark (Hexanchus griseus) is unprotected in Maltese waters and has been a landed species in Malta and Gozo for many years. The Maltese name for this species is Murruna ta’sitt gargi.

If you ever come across something similar, feel free to email [email protected]

Image credit: Adrianna Chojnacka of Family Diving

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