Standardized data to support conservation prioritization for sharks and batoids

Published on
24. September 2020

Standardized data to support conservation prioritization for sharks and batoids (Elasmobranchii)

Rikke Oegelund Nielsen, Rita da Silva, Jacqueline Juergens, Johanna Staerk, Line Lindholm Sørensen, John Jackson, Simeon Quirinus Smeele, Dalia A. Conde


We collated and synthesized information on 1,226 Elasmobranch species (i.e., sharks, rays, and skates) globally from a wide range of sources. We obtained curated and standardized data from online databases, legal documents, press releases, and websites. All data were standardized according to the taxonomic nomenclature described in the Catalogue of Life. We grouped data into five categories: 1) biological information, 2) conservation status, 3) management opportunities, 4) use, and 5) inclusion in international conventions and treaties. For species biological information, we included migration, habitat, species characteristics such as length & body weight, their threat to humans, life-history trait data availability from FishBase, whether the species was listed on the Global Register of Migratory Species, the presence of occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), information on genomics from GenBank, and species evolutionary distinctiveness scores. For conservation status, we recorded threat status from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species™ and inclusion in the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). For management opportunities, we identified species under human care in zoos and aquariums in the Species360 network, species under management in studbooks from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the American Association for Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA), as well as data on recovery, management, and action plans at the class, family, and species levels. For use, we collated species-level data on international trade levels from the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Trade Database, as used in aquaculture, as bait, and as gamefish, recording the purpose of the trade according to the IUCN Red List and the global catches reported to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Finally, we collated information from seven international conventions and treaties: CITES, UNCLOS (the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea), CMS (the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals), Shark MoU (the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks), BERN (the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats), OSPAR (Protecting and conserving the North-East Atlantic and its resources), and the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. Our data are comparable across databases and will assist further research on in-situ and ex-situ population management for sharks and batoids. Our data can be of use to international policy makers, aquarium curators, management authorities, conservation practitioners, and scientists interested in prioritizing Elasmobranchs for conservation.

Data in Brief, Volume 33, December 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2020.106337


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