Bycatch of chondrichthyans in a coastal trawl fishery on Chubut province coast
Published online on 28. October 2016
Bycatch of chondrichthyans in a coastal trawl fishery on Chubut province coast and adjacent waters, Argentina
J. Ruibal Núñez, N. D. Bovcon, P. D. Cochia, M. E. Góngora
Chondrichthyans are usually caught incidentally in fisheries for species of high commercial value and then discarded on board or landed as by-products. On the coast of Chubut province and adjacent waters (43°00′S–44°56′S) a bottom trawl fishery has developed targeted at the Patagonian shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) and common hake (Merluccius hubbsi). Since 2005, this fishery has been monitored by the On-board Observers Program of Chubut province (POBCh). With the aim of advancing towards an ecosystem approach, POBCh not only collects information about target species but also about all the species caught by the trawl nets of the province fisheries. From the information collected by this programme it was possible to identify and record the chondrichthyan species vulnerable to the fishing gear used by the coastal fleet that operates from Puerto Rawson. The composition of the fleet catch was characterized according to the target species during the 2005–2014 period. In the analysis of 3786 hauls, 23 species of chondrichthyans (seven species of sharks, 15 species of batoids and a single species of Holocephali) were identified. Seven species showed a frequency of occurrence greater than 10% (Callorhinchus callorynchus, Discopyge tschudii, Mustelus schmitti, Sympterygia bonapartii, Psammobatis normani, Squalus acanthias and Zearaja chilensis). Species spatial distribution was evaluated and five areas of species assemblages were established. Besides the aspects related to bycatch, these analyses have contributed to the knowledge of the chondrichthyan biodiversity in the provincial coast where the fleet operates, a region with incomplete and mostly dispersed and outdated information.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, DOI:10.1017/S0025315416001508