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Elasmobranchs longline fisheries in the Gulf of Gabès (southern Tunisia)

  • K. Echwikhi (a1) (a2), B. Saidi (a1) and M.N. Bradai (a1)

Abstract

In Tunisia, elasmobranch landings have decreased substantially in recent years. Generally, species-specific information is largely unavailable for artisanal fisheries, but it is essential to increase knowledge and to ensure proper management of these species. This study analysed elasmobranch catches with longline fishery in the Gulf of Gabès. In total, 21 and 20 pelagic and bottom longline fishing trips were conducted, respectively, from July to September in 2007 and 2008. A total of eight elasmobranch species were caught: four batoids and four sharks. Pelagic longline captures were hooked externally while a high number of individuals captured with bottom longline were hooked internally. Discards due essentially to low commercial value and size represented 7.6% of total number of elasmobranch specimens caught. Longline landings in the Gulf of Gabès were principally composed of sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, representing, respectively, 94.14% and 21.17% in number of pelagic and bottom longline captures. The importance of rhinobatids and Mustelus capture with bottom longline reflect their abundance in this area compared to other Mediterranean zones. Juveniles, including neonates with umbilical scars, dominated carcharhnids specimens, while smoothhound and guitarfish captures were dominated by mature individuals. Mitigation measures based on gear modifications, size limits and delineated nursery areas in the Gulf of Gabès should be developed to protect these vulnerable species.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: K. Echwikhi, National Institute of Sea Sciences and Technologies, PO Box 1035, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia email: chouikhikhaled@yahoo.fr

References

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Elasmobranchs longline fisheries in the Gulf of Gabès (southern Tunisia)

  • K. Echwikhi (a1) (a2), B. Saidi (a1) and M.N. Bradai (a1)

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