Population productivity of shovelnose rays

Published on
21. November 2019

Population productivity of shovelnose rays: Inferring the potential for recovery

Brooke M. D’Alberto, John K. Carlson, Sebastián A. Pardo, Colin A. Simpfendorfer


There is recent evidence of widespread declines of shovelnose ray populations (Order Rhinopristiformes) in heavily fished regions. These declines, which are likely driven by high demand for their fins in Asian markets, raises concern about their risk of over-exploitation and extinction. Using life-history theory and incorporating uncertainty into a modified Euler-Lotka model, the maximum intrinsic rates of population increase (rmax) were estimated for nine species from four families of Rhinopristiformes, using four different natural mortality estimators. Estimates of mean rmax, across the different natural mortality methods, varied from 0.03 to 0.59 year-1 among the nine species, but generally increased with increasing maximum size. Comparing these estimates to rmax values for other species of chondrichthyans, the species Rhynchobatus australiae, Glaucostegus typus, and Glaucostegus cemiculus were relatively productive, while most species from Rhinobatidae and Trygonorrhinidae had relatively low rmax values. If the demand for their high-value products can be addressed then population recovery for some species is likely possible, but will vary depending on the species.

PLoS ONE 14(11): e0225183. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225183


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