Elasmobranch captures in the Fijian pelagic longline fishery


Piovano, S. and Gilman, E.



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Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

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Observer data collected between 2011 and 2014 from the Fijian longline fleet was analysed to characterize the shark and ray catch composition. In addition, factors that could significantly explain standardized catch rates were identified. Catch data were fitted to a generalized linear model to identify significant explanatory variables. The nominal catch rate for elasmobranchs was 0.610 per 1000 hooks. Twenty seven species of elasmobranchs were observed captured. Of the elasmobranchs captured, 48% are categorized as Threatened by the IUCN Red List. Sharks and rays made up 2.4% and 1.4% of the total catch respectively. The most commonly caught elasmobranchs were blue sharks (51% of sharks) and pelagic stingrays (99% of rays caught). Significantly higher catch rates were observed on narrower J-shaped hooks compared to wide circle hooks. Catch rates of sharks and rays were lower during the latter half of the year. The fishery does not use 'shark lines'.