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Estalles M.,CONICET | Estalles M.,Institute Biologia Marina Y Pesquera Alte Storni Ibmp | Coller N.M.,Institute Biologia Marina Y Pesquera Alte Storni Ibmp | Coller N.M.,National University of Comahue | And 4 more authors.
Aquatic Living Resources | Year: 2011

Argentina is one of the countries with the largest overall landings of skates and rays (24 000 t/year). As a consequence of high levels of exploitation and deficient management tools, many of these species are threatened with extinction. In the bottom trawl fishery of San Matías Gulf, northern Patagonia, skates and rays are caught as bycatch and all have historically been recorded in the fishery logbook under the category "rays". Therefore, species composition and their characteristics were unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize the commercial exploitation of batoid species in this fishery. Our results indicate that commercial landings include nine species of skate, six of which are common. Among these, Atlantoraja platana, Sympterygia bonapartii and Dipturus chilensis were considered the main species of this fishery. Their combined relative abundance and weight made up about 90% of the batoid catch throughout the year. Sexual segregation was detected in four species in which individuals of one sex dominated commercial landings. The commercial fraction was composed of individuals with a wide range of sizes. Immature individuals could represent 90% of the individuals landed for some species. At present, lack of data prevents us from quantifying the impact that this fishery is having on these species, but our findings highlight the importance of conducting research surveys to assess the abundance and geographic extent of these populations. The information presented here provided the basis for the proposal of a new logbook format incorporating species-level identification. The new logbook was implemented on 1 January 2010. © EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD 2011.

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