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Insights from catch composition and historical records of elasmobranchs in the Malvan fishery on the central west coast of India

Kottillil, S and Gupta, T and Manoharakrishnan, M and Rao, C and Shanker, K (2023) Insights from catch composition and historical records of elasmobranchs in the Malvan fishery on the central west coast of India. In: Journal of Fish Biology .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.15416


Although elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) are highly threatened by fisheries, there are few studies that examine gear and fishery effects on catch composition and abundance across India, one of the top elasmobranch fishing nations globally. We assessed elasmobranch diversity, abundance, catch rates and fishery characteristics using landing surveys in Malvan on the central-western coast of India, a major multi-gear, multi-species fishing centre, over three sampling periods from February 2018 to March 2020. We sampled 3145 fishing trips and recorded 27 elasmobranch species, of which nearly half are categorised as “Threatened” by the IUCN. In addition, we documented historical records by compiling information from identification guides, research papers, articles and reports. During the study period, the catch was dominated by small-sized coastal species like the spadenose shark (Scoliodon laticaudus) and the scaly whipray (Brevitrygon walga). Trawlers accounted for 64.9% of the catch, highest by number, and captured smaller-sized individuals. Nonetheless, artisanal and gillnet fisheries had higher catch per unit effort (CPUE) for rays (5.1 ± 1.0) and sharks (10 ± 1.0), respectively, and captured significantly larger-sized individuals. Through generalised linear models, we found seasonal, gear and fishery effects on the abundance and size of commonly caught species. The presence of neonates and gravid females of multiple species also suggests nursery grounds in this region. Historically, 141 species have been recorded in this region, and a comparison with current catch suggests a shift in elasmobranch community structure and potential mesopredator release. This study emphasises the importance of gear and species-specific research for conservation planning at the local level and suggests the need for management strategies with fisher cooperation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Fish Biology
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the John Wiley and Sons Inc.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2023 06:17
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 11:31
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/82396

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