You may never have heard about the guitarfish, and you certainly have never heard one. The guitarfish is named for its guitar-like shape, not for any music that it makes. (If you’re searching for guitarfish music, look elsewhere.)
Unless significant reform of our relationship with the oceans, and the environment in general, is undertaken, the chance for you ever to see a guitarfish firsthand may never come. The International Conservation Union reports that in the northern Atlantic, about one of every four elasmobranchs – sharks, skates, rays and the like – is in danger of going extinct. In its report on the problem, two species of guitarfish are listed as endangered: The blackchin guitarfish (Rhinobatos cemiculus) common guitarfish (Rhinobatos rhinobatos). These fish are caught both as bycatch by shrimp trawlers and in their own right for the shark fin trade. A fin of the blackchin guitarfish can fetch 100 euros.
For the guitarfish curious, there is a rare sighting of them – on land. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher has announced the birth of six baby guitarfish. These are Atlantic guitarfish, which are not listed as endangered.