In late March and early April this yr, researchers from the College of Groningen within the Netherlands teamed up with fishers, conservationists and scientists in Guinea-Bissau to catch, examine, pattern and launch greater than 50 sharks and rays off the coast of the West African nation.
The staff, which included specialists from the Guinea-Bissau-based Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP), took blood and different tissue samples from the animals for DNA analyses, decided their intercourse and maturity, and appeared for indicators they not too long ago gave start. In all, the animals belonged to 10 completely different species, together with the smalltooth stingray (Dasyatis rudis), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) and bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).
The staff carried out the analysis within the Bijagós Archipelago, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that covers 88 islands unfold throughout 12,950 sq. kilometers (5,000 sq. miles). The area has struggled with fisheries administration for many years: unlawful fishing is pervasive amongst foreign-owned industrial vessels, based on a 2018 paper, and small-scale fishing continues to function inside marine protected areas.
“As taking the animal from the water is demanding, we wish to take the time as fast as attainable, however on the identical time ensure that we will be taught as a lot from the animal as attainable,” staff chief Guido Leurs, from the College of Groningen, mentioned in an electronic mail.
One species acquired particular therapy: the critically endangered blackchin guitarfish (Glaucostegus cemiculus), some of the threatened ray species in West Africa. The staff connected satellite tv for pc transmitters to 2 blackchin guitarfish to trace their actions, marking the primary time this species has been tracked with this methodology.
At the moment, nobody is aware of the place native blackchin guitarfish migrate to exterior the archipelago, leaving questions on what might be impacting their survival unanswered. Leurs mentioned he hopes this analysis will present solutions, giving Guinea-Bissauan policymakers extra data to guard the species.
“In 9 months from deployment (275 days to be precise) we are going to hopefully discover out the place these animals have been!” Leurs added.
The staff is saving one satellite tv for pc tracker to position on a scalloped hammerhead throughout their subsequent expedition.
Practically one-third (32.6%) of shark and ray species are threatened with extinction as a result of overfishing, based on a examine revealed within the journal Present Biology late final yr. This is a rise from the primary international evaluation of chondrichthyes (sharks, rays and chimeras) carried out in 2014, which discovered roughly 1 / 4 (24%) of species have been threatened. Within the tropics, the menace is disproportionately excessive.
Sharks and rays play an vital cultural and religious function for the individuals of the Bijagós, inspiring dances, costumes and even buildings. Whereas industrial and artisanal coastal fisheries goal them inside and outdoors the marine protected areas of the archipelago, Leurs mentioned that due to their cultural significance, Bijagós fishers usually don’t, nor do they need to catch them by chance as bycatch. Leurs mentioned the fishers on his staff hope the analysis outcomes will assist them learn to cut back charges of bycatch.
Igualdino Titi, a fisherman who has labored with Leurs’s staff for 4 years, helped catch the 2 guitarfish. In his honor, they named one of many fish “Titi,” after his household identify.
“I can nonetheless see his face after we advised him,” Leurs mentioned. “It was simply such a second of delight for him.”
Banner picture: The primary critically endangered blackchin guitarfish being launched with a satellite tv for pc transmitter. This grownup feminine is known as Aissa after IBAP conservationist Aissa Regalla, who works for improved safety of pure areas in Guinea-Bissau. Researchers can now comply with this guitarfish and one other of its form to be taught concerning the migration of the little-studied species inside the area, with an eye fixed to raised defending it. Picture by Maarten Zwarts/College of Groningen.
Intchama, J. F., Belhabib, D., & Tomás Jumpe, R. J. (2018). Assessing Guinea Bissau’s authorized and unlawful unreported and unregulated fisheries and the surveillance efforts to deal with them. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5. doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00079
Dulvy, N. Okay., Fowler, S. L., Musick, J. A., Cavanagh, R. D., Kyne, P. M., Harrison, L. R., … White, W. T. (2014). Extinction danger and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays. eLife, 3. doi:10.7554/elife.00590
Dulvy, N. Okay., Pacoureau, N., Rigby, C. L., Pollom, R. A., Jabado, R. W., Ebert, D. A., … Simpfendorfer, C. A. (2021). Overfishing drives over one-third of all sharks and rays towards a worldwide extinction disaster. Present Biology, 31(22), 5118-5119. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2021.11.008
This text by Mike DiGirolamo was first revealed by Mongabay.com on 22 July 2022. Lead Picture: The primary critically endangered blackchin guitarfish being launched with a satellite tv for pc transmitter. This grownup feminine is known as Aissa after IBAP conservationist Aissa Regalla, who works for improved safety of pure areas in Guinea-Bissau. Researchers can now comply with this guitarfish and one other of its form to be taught concerning the migration of the little-studied species inside the area, with an eye fixed to raised defending it. Picture by Maarten Zwarts/College of Groningen.
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