Change in Elasmobranchs and Other Incidental Species in the Spanish Deepwater Black Hake Trawl Fishery off Mauritania (1992–2001)
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From 1992 to 2001, by-catch that was landed from the Spanish deepwater trawl fishery for black hake off Mauritania was closely monitored. This is a highly specialised fishery, with two species of black hake (Merluccius senegalensis and Merluccius polli) constituting between 77–99% of total landings, which have annually averaged 9 300 tons over the past two decades. Landings of Sparidae were highest among by-catch species of commercial value, with the large-eye dentex, Dentex macrophthalmus being the most important until 1996, after which the family Lophiidae and others predominated. Next were the Elasmobranchii, including large demersal squalids and several species of rays, although their annual landings fell from 182 tons in 1992 to only 4 tons in 1999, rising to 37 tons in 2001. The present paper analyses these changes using by-catches retained in the black hake fishery. We believe that the decline could be due to a set of different factors: a change in depths fished, economic ...
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