Elasmobranch bycatch in the Gulf of Papua, Papua New Guinea

Published on
25. June 2019

Elasmobranch bycatch in the demersal prawn trawl fishery in the Gulf of Papua, Papua New Guinea

W. T. White, L. Baje, C. A. Simpfendorfer, S. A. Appleyard, A. Chin, B. Sabub, E. Rochel, G. J. P. Naylor


The elasmobranch bycatch of the Gulf of Papua Prawn Fishery is investigated in detail for the first time. Fisheries observers collected data on the elasmobranch bycatch from a total of 403 trawl sets (1,273 hrs) in the Gulf of Papua. A total of 40 species of elasmobranchs were recorded ranging in size from a 12 cm disc width stingray to a 350 cm total length sawfish. High mortality rates were recorded (>80%), attributed to the long trawl durations (up to 4 hours). The future inclusion of bycatch reduction devices would likely reduce the number of larger elasmobranchs being caught, based on evidence from the prawn trawl fisheries of northern Australia, and is being investigated by the PNG National Fisheries Authority. Differences in catch compositions were detected across the management zones as well as between the two monsoonal seasons (SE Monsoon and NW Monsoon). Increased monitoring and additional research is required and management plans should address the elasmobranch bycatch and in particular their high mortality rate.

Scientific Reports, Volume 9, Article number: 9254 (2019), DOI s41598-019-45715-w


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