About the Species
The blackchin guitarfish is a cartilaginous fish, similar to a ray or skate. The species once occurred in shallow waters throughout the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Portugal to Angola. It no longer occurs in many areas of the Mediterranean, and it is rare in West Africa. The main threats to the blackchin guitarfish are commercial fishing to supply the shark fin trade and subsistence fishing to supply meat to growing coastal populations. In 2017, NOAA Fisheries listed the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The common guitarfish and Brazilian guitarfish are also listed under the Endangered Species Act. Read more about the blackchin guitarfish.
ESA Threatened - Foreign
- Throughout Its Range
“Blackchin” refers to the dark spot on the snout and is especially noticeable in juveniles. The blackchin guitarfish is brown on top and white underneath. It has small thorns throughout its body
Behavior and Diet
The blackchin guitarfish eats invertebrates, such as shrimp and other crustaceans.
Where They Live
The blackchin guitarfish lives in shallow, sandy and muddy bottom habitats. It occurs in the Atlantic Ocean, from northern Portugal to Angola. In the Mediterranean Sea, it occurs primarily along the North African shore (in the waters of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya) and the Eastern basin, from Turkey to Israel. The species is no longer found in the waters of Spain, Italy, and the Aegean Sea.
Lifespan & Reproduction
Female blackchin guitarfish give birth to live young in the shallow waters of West Africa during August and September.
Commercial and subsistence fishing
The blackchin guitarfish is targeted for its fins to meet the high demand for shark fins in eastern and southeastern Asia. It is also targeted for its meat by coastal populations in several countries.
In 2013, NOAA Fisheries received a petition (pdf, 538 pages) to list the blackchin guitarfish as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In our 90-day finding, we concluded that the petitioned action may be warranted. After completing a Status Review, we proposed to list the species as threatened and requested comments from the public. In 2017, NOAA Fisheries listed the blackchin guitarfish as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.