DNA-based identification reveals illegal trade of threatened shark species in a global elasmobranch conservation hotspot

Feitosa, Leonardo Manir, Barbosa Martins, Ana Paula, Giarrizzo, Tommaso, Macedo, Wagner, Monteiro, Iann Leonardo, Gemaque, Romário, Nunes, Jorge Luiz Silva, Gomes, Fernanda, Schneider, Horácio, Sampaio, Iracilda, Souza, Rosália, Sales, João Bráullio, Rodrigues-Filho, Luís Fernando, Tchaicka, Lígia, and Carvalho-Costa, Luís Fernando (2018) DNA-based identification reveals illegal trade of threatened shark species in a global elasmobranch conservation hotspot. Scientific Reports, 8 (1). 3347.

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Here, we report trading of endangered shark species in a world hotspot for elasmobranch conservation in Brazil. Data on shark fisheries are scarce in Brazil, although the northern and northeastern regions have the highest indices of shark bycatch. Harvest is made primarily with processed carcasses lacking head and fins, which hampers reliable species identification and law enforcement on illegal catches. We used partial sequences of two mitochondrial genes (COI and/or NADH2) to identify 17 shark species from 427 samples being harvested and marketed on the northern coast of Brazil. Nine species (53%) are listed under some extinction threat category according to Brazilian law and international authorities (IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature; CITES - Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The number increases to 13 (76%) if we also consider the Near Threatened category. Hammerhead sharks are under threat worldwide, and composed 18.7% of samples, with Sphyrna mokarran being the fourth most common species among samples. As illegal trade of threatened shark species is a worldwide conservation problem, molecular identification of processed meat or specimens lacking diagnostic body parts is a highly effective tool for species identification and law enforcement.

Item ID: 58568
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
Funders: CNPq, Brazil, FUNPEA, FAPEMA, Fundação Boticário de Conservação da Natureza (FBCN)
Projects and Grants: CNPq #310299/2016-0, FAPEMA grant 03136/13, CNPq #474843/2013-0, FBCN #1054-20152
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 23:27
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 80%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300502 Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment @ 20%
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