Rare ‘sofa shark’ caught west of St Kilda

Pseudotrakias microdon 1


This unusual deep-water shark was caught during a routine survey west of the Hebrides — in exactly the same place as one was spotted 15 years ago.

Nicknamed the ‘sofa shark’ by Marine Scotland team leader Dr Francis Neat, the 60-kilogramme female’s real name is Pseudotrakias microdon, or the false cat-shark. It is only the second time one has been seen in UK waters since the last survey west of the Hebrides some 15 years ago.

Dr Neat said the survey vessel was around 40 miles west of St Kilda last month when they caught the shark at a depth of around 1,000 metres.

“We run a routine trawl survey for deep-water fish species, down the slope from 500 metres to 2,000 metres, just to monitor fish populations,” he said. “There are lots of weird things down there and with this shark it has tiny little teeth, not like a Great White, which means it only eats small fish and squid rather than large prey.

“I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat. We quickly measured and weighed it before sending it back into the water.  We caught this one in the same place as the last one we saw 15 years ago.”