Artisanal shark fishing in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea

Published on 27. April 2018

Artisanal shark fishing in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea: biomass estimation from genetically identified shark and ray fins

S. A. Appleyard, W. T. White, S. Vieira, B. Sabub


Our study is the first detailed examination of species composition using DNA COI barcoding of elasmobranchs from an artisanal fishery of Papua New Guinea. The study is the first in the region to provide biomass estimates based on species confirmation following examination of dried fins. Over 20 species of elasmobranchs were identified from 623 fins from the artisanal fishery in Milne Bay Province of PNG, with Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and Carcharhinus melanopterus the most abundant species in the catches. Of concern, 21% of fins examined were from IUCN listed threatened species (Vulnerable or Endangered) with 8% of fins from the Endangered scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini). Following species identifications and use of species-specific length and weight extrapolations, we estimated over 9 t of elasmobranchs contributed to the fin batch. Importantly, the vast majority of the elasmobranchs in this batch were from immature animals. Genetic identification has an important role to play in the ongoing sustainable management of elasmobranchs in artisanal fisheries in PNG and more widely. However in the absence of ongoing genetic testing, recording the species (if known) at the time of catch is more achievable and would provide more robust data for fisheries managers in PNG over the longer term.

Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 6693. DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-25101-8



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