Elasmobranch bycatch distributions and mortality

Published on
29. July 2020

Elasmobranch bycatch distributions and mortality: insights from the European tropical tuna purse-seine fishery

Lyndsay Clavareau, Philippe S. Sabarros, Lauriane Escalle, Pascal Bach, Francisco J. Abascal, Jon Lopez, Hilario Murua, Pedro J. Pascual Alayon, Maria Lourdes Ramos, Jon Ruiz, Bastien Mérigot


Despite bycatch of elasmobranch (sharks and rays) being a major concern in most fisheries worldwide, there is a lack of knowledge on their spatio-temporal species distribution, biology (life stage and sex-ratios), as well as their at-haulback mortality rate. Observer data from the French and Spanish tropical purse-seine tuna fisheries operating in the Eastern Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans between 2005 and 2017 were analysed to investigate elasmobranch bycatch. Data included 24 elasmobranchs species and distribution patterns of catch per unit of effort (CPUE) by species and sex-ratio were found to vary with life stages, areas, seasons and fishing modes. In general, higher catches were found in FAD-associated sets (>40%) than free tuna school sets (<17%) although this can vary depending on the species. For the large majority of species, a high proportion of juveniles were caught (30.7–100%), apparent at-haulback mortality rates was high (24.3–63.9%) and finally sex ratios was unbalanced (13.3–66.7% of females). Areas and seasons identified from these different components should be of interest for the monitoring and management of elasmobranch bycatches.

Global Ecology and Conservation, DOI: 10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01211


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