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Deep-Water Sharks

Deep-water shark

Leafscale gulper shark C entrophorus squamosus; Bonaterre, 1788; Family: Squalidae

Eleven of the 30 families of shark that exist world-wide are represented in the waters to the west of the UK. The most important family is the Squalidae (spiny sharks). Although nine species of squalid shark are common in the Rockall Trough, only two have a commercial value. These are the Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis (Bocage and Capello, 1864) and the leafscale gulper shark (Centrophorus squamosus) shown above (often known by their French names 'siki' and 'false siki' respectively). Valued primarily for their flesh on the French markets, these sharks are also valued for their liver oils, particularly squalene. These oils are used in lubricants, as cosmetic bases and in the pharmaceutical industry.