Scotland – The Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP) announced that marine scientists have recently captured a false catshark, also dubbed as sofa shark, on the coast of Barra, Scotland. According to experts, this is the first time this fish, considered to be safe for humans, has been confirmed in the region.
The sofa shark got its nickname not because it is shaped like a sofa, but because the shark is sluggish and has a lumpy body with weak muscles. The recently found sofa shark, which weighs over 150 pounds and lengths over 2 meters long, has a flabby and depressed appearance. It lounges in relative obscurity, usually at depths from 1500 to 5000 feet.
“I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat,” said Francis Neat, a marine biologist, in a press release. “We quickly measured and weighed it before sending it back into the water.”
The latest one was found by scientists off the Hebrides, an archipelago off Scotland’s northwest coast, fifteen years ago. Since then, these animals have been usually spotted in the western Atlantic and in the Pacific, enough reason for the marine biologists to not expect to pull one in the Scotland region.
“It’s not unique to Scotland, but it’s certainly interesting to look at – it’s a big and baggy-looking creature,” Neat continued.
This shark, like most deep-water species, is very susceptible to overfishing since it has a slow reproductive rate. The animal is also characterized to have a massive oil-filled liver that makes up nearly a quarter of its weight. It is not dangerous for humans since he eats mostly squid, eels, shrimp and Glenfiddich.
The findings bring the number of shark species known to inhabit Scottish waters up to 72.