Rare Shark Fish-Napped in Britain

By Andrew Moseman | July 31, 2008 3:10 pm

catsharkBritish police are on the lookout for aquatic abductors who stole a female marble catshark from a private aquarium in Hampshire earlier this week.

The two-foot-long shark and its male partner are the only known breeding partners or marble catsharks in Britain. The police think this may have been a targeted burglary, but one that took a plenty of planning. The fish thieves would have needed a net to catch the shark, a bag to put it in, a box to carry it in, and knowledge of the building’s layout—meaning there was either an inside man, or the burglars liked to visit the aquarium.

That’s a lot of trouble, but the aquarium’s owner, Peter Newman, says the female alone could be worth about $20,000 because this kind of catshark is so rare. The breeding pair is worth $100,000 together, he says, so the aquatic abductors probably wanted either to steal the male as well, or to try to ransom the female. Perhaps the thieves will attempt to sell the stolen fish in another country, because police say it’ll be hard to unload such a rare animal in Britain. But it won’t be too easy to get a shark through customs.

Let’s hope she turns up, as the abducted fish has already had a rough last few years—a crab once bit through one of the aquarium’s power cables and electrocuted her, and earlier this year she gave birth to six babies. This shark deserves a break.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Stan Shebs

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