|Town/Region||Las Lisas, Sipacate|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||7 Jul 2017|
Sharks are vulnerable and susceptible to overfishing because they are characterized by low reproductive potential, have long gestation periods and slow growth, and require a long period to reach sexual maturity (Walker, 1992; Castro, 1993). Fishery biologists consider a stock, or population of a species, unsustainable when the rate of exploitation by fishermen reduces their recruitment, or abundance, to a level at which the catch rate cannot be sustained annually (Klimley, 2013).
In the Pacific of Guatemala, five species are identified as the main catches by the fishing fleet: Carcharhinus falciformis, Nasolamia velox, Carcharhinus limbatus, Sphyrna lewini and Alopias pelagicus (FAO, 1999). Of these species, C. falciformis, Alopias pelagicus and S. lewini are listed in CITES appendix II. This list include species that are not necessarily now threatened to extinction but may become so unless trade is closely monitored and controlled.
Previous research in the Pacific of Guatemala conducted by Márquez and Ruiz (1999) highlight the high incidence of juvenile and neonatal organisms of sharks and rays in the fishing catches, recommending future research efforts to search and locate sharks and rays possible nursery areas.
Providing up to date scientific information of elasmobranchs captured in the Pacific of Guatemala, as well as different aspects of their biology and the existence of nursery areas of sharks and rays may allow the creation of a protection plans to maintain the continuity of recruitment of the various species of elasmobranchs, which aims to helps maintain elasmobranch populations healthy and maintain people's livelihood.
This project will also generate information necessary for the country to contribute to global protection for sharks that were included in the list of endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES). In the case of Guatemala one of the most commonly species caught by the fishery fleet are
C. falciformis and S. lewini, both included in appendix II of CITES. It is necessary to contribute with the national guidelines to regulate its commercialization.
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