Challenges and priorities in shark and ray conservation

Dulvy, Nicholas K., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Davidson, Lindsay N.K., Fordham, Sonja V., Bräutigam, Amie, Sant, Glenn, and Welch, David J. (2017) Challenges and priorities in shark and ray conservation. Current Biology, 27 (11). R565-R572.

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Sharks, rays, and chimaeras (Class Chondrichthyes; herein 'sharks') are the earliest extant jawed vertebrates and exhibit some of the greatest functional diversity of all vertebrates. Ecologically, they influence energy transfer vertically through trophic levels and sometimes trophic cascades via direct consumption and predation risk. Through movements and migrations, they connect horizontally and temporally across habitats and ecosystems, integrating energy flows at large spatial scales and across time. This connectivity flows from ontogenetic growth in size and spatial movements, which in turn underpins their relatively low reproductive rates compared with other exploited ocean fishes. Sharks are also ecologically and demographically diverse and are taken in a wide variety of fisheries for multiple products (e.g. meat, fins, teeth, and gills). Consequently, a range of fisheries management measures are generally preferable to 'silver bullet' and 'one size fits all' conservation actions. Some species with extremely low annual reproductive output can easily become endangered and hence require strict protections to minimize mortality. Other, more prolific species can withstand fishing over the long term if catches are subject to effective catch limits throughout the species' range. We identify, based on the IUCN Red List status, 64 endangered species in particular need of new or stricter protections and 514 species in need of improvements to fisheries management. We designate priority countries for such actions, recognizing the widely differing fishing pressures and conservation capacity. We hope that this analysis assists efforts to ensure this group of ecologically important and evolutionarily distinct animals can support both ocean ecosystems and human activities in the future.

Item ID: 50380
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0445
Funders: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Disney Conservation Fund
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:23
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 30%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300505 Fisheries management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
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