Assessment of trends in the Portuguese elasmobranch commercial landings over three decades (1986–2017)

Published on
18. June 2020

Assessment of trends in the Portuguese elasmobranch commercial landings over three decades (1986–2017)

Luís M.F.Alves, João P.S. Correia, Marco F.L. Lemos, Sara C. Novais, Henrique Cabral


Portugal plays a major role in shark, skate and ray fisheries in the European Union. With the decline of these animals raising concerns amongst scientists all over the world, we set out to provide an updated assessment on elasmobranch landings in Portugal between 1986 and 2017. The dataset analysed in this study consisted of 15,521 records, each with information concerning the species (or higher taxonomic level), port, month, year, and weight of fish landed. A non-parametric change points assessment statistical technique was used to evaluate important changes in landings throughout the time series. Principal components analysis was also performed to mean values of landings per year for the most captured species, and similar analysis was conducted using fishing ports instead of year, for the same sub-set of species / taxa. According to the data, more than 143 thousand metric tons of elasmobranchs were landed in Portuguese ports between 1986 and 2017, divided by 58 taxa of sharks, skates and rays. The most landed taxa were demersal rays and skates (Raja spp.), followed by spotted dogfishes (Scyliorhinus spp.), blue shark (Prionace glauca), Portuguese dogfish (Centroscymnus coelolepis), leafscale gulper shark (Centrophorus squamosus), gulper shark (Centrophorus granulosus) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus). Together, these seven taxa accounted for more than 75% of all landings. Several cases of misreporting were identified and discussed. Overall, landings of elasmobranchs in Portugal show marked decreases and changes in composition, with deep-sea sharks being the most influential group during the studied period.

Fisheries Research, Volume 230, October 2020, DOI 10.1016/j.fishres.2020.105648


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