Assessing Diversity, Population Genetics, and Conservation Status of Electric Rays Along Bay of Bengal, India

Shrutika Raut

The Torpediniformes is a unique order of Batoid fishes that comprises electric rays known for their specialized electric organs. Though there is no targeted fishing of these rays in India as they have little or no economic value but contribute significantly to the by-catch. There is a decline in their population due to increased fishing pressure and are categorized as “Data Deficient”, “Endangered”, and “Vulnerable” in the IUCN red list. The existing reports on the Torpediniformes are limited to species diversity and distribution based on the data from mechanized trawlers.

The proposed research will focus on assessing diversity, population genetics, and conservation status of electric rays along the Bay of Bengal, India by collecting monthly catch data from artisanal fish landing centres. In addition, fishers' perceptions and attitudes towards the endangered species catch, bycatch, and its processing, consumption, and conservation will be gathered to draft specific management and conservation action plans for the electric rays.

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