Elasmobranch bycatch associated with the shrimp trawl fishery off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Central America


Clarke, T.M., Espinoza, M., Ahrens, R. and I.S. Wehrtmann



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Fishery Bulletin

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The elasmobranch assemblage associated with the shrimp trawl fishery operating along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica was assessed. Trawl hauls were conducted between August 2008 and August 2012, resulting in the sampling of 4,564 elasmobranchs from 25 species and 13 families. The most commonly caught species (66% of the elasmobranch abundance) included the Panamic stringray (Urotrygon aspidura), rasptail skate (Raja velezi), brown smoothhound (Mustelus henlei) and witch guitarfish (Zapteryx xyster). Elasmobranch species richness was significantly higher at depths less than 100 m, compared to deeper depths. In addition, size and sex distribution is influenced by depth of fishing. The movement of this fishery into shallower waters could be problematic for elasmobranch bycatch.