Factors affecting the catch rates and relative abundance of sea snakes in the by-catch of trawlers targeting tiger and endeavour prawns on the northern Australian continental shelf

Ward, T. M. (2000) Factors affecting the catch rates and relative abundance of sea snakes in the by-catch of trawlers targeting tiger and endeavour prawns on the northern Australian continental shelf. Marine and Freshwater Research, 51 (2). pp. 155-164.

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Abstract

A total of 4378 sea snakes (14 species; 5 unidentified specimens) were collected from 21 082 h of sampling effort by trawlers of the Northern Prawn Fishery. Most species (12) were collected from the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. Hydrophis elegans and Disteira major were caught frequently in all areas. The catch rates of H. elegans and Lapemis hardwickii were highest in the eastern gulf and in depths of 31–40 and <20 m respectively. Hydrophis elegans represented >27% of specimens from most areas. Other species that represented ≥20% of specimens from one or more areas were: L. hardwickii, H. ornatus, D. major and Aipysurus eydouxii. Catch rates of all species of snakes combined did not differ significantly between 1984–86 and 1989–90, and were moderately high around Groote Eylandt where the fishery is centred. Most by-catch species occur in areas that are not subjected to extensive trawling, and there are no data to suggest that this fishery seriously threatens any population of sea snake. However, sea snakes may be more vulnerable to trawler-induced effects than most other by-catch species, and formal assessment of the status of populations is needed.

Item ID: 24141
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2012 00:30
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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