Low abundance of sharks and rays in baited remote underwater video surveys in the Arabian Gulf.
Authors of this article are:
Jabado RW, Al Hameli SM, Grandcourt EM, Al Dhaheri SS.
A summary of the article is shown below:
Data on the diversity and relative abundance of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in the Arabian Gulf have been limited to fishery-dependent monitoring of landing sites. Understanding the diversity and abundance of sharks and rays is, however, crucial to inform policy and management plans. Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (BRUVS) were conducted in 2015-2016 across the United Arab Emirates Arabian Gulf waters encompassing a range of depths and habitat types. Data from 278 BRUVS (757 hours soak time) were analysed to gather information on diversity, relative abundance, species distribution, and habitat associations. Surveys recorded 213 individuals from 20 species of sharks and rays at 129 stations. The frequency of occurrence of species usually discarded by fishers such as the Arabian carpetshark (Chiloscyllium arabicum) and stingrays (Himantura spp.) was high, accounting for 60.5% of observed elasmobranchs. Despite the large survey area covered and extensive sampling effort, the relative abundance of sharks and rays was low at 0.28 elasmobranchs per hour, 0.13 sharks per hour, and 0.15 rays per hour. This CPUE was reduced to one of lowest recorded abundance on BRUVS from around the world when removing the two discarded species from the analysis (0.11 elasmobranchs per hour). These results likely reflect the intense fishing pressure and habitat loss contributing to population declines of many elasmobranchs in the Arabian Gulf. Findings provide a baseline for future work and can support the design of conservation strategies for sharks and rays in the UAE.
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