Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No 3 (2013)

The artisanal elasmobranch fishery of the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico, management implications

Sergio R. Ramirez-Amaro
Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional , Mexico

Daniel Cartamil
Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California , United States

Felipe Galvan-Magaña
Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional , Mexico

Gerardo Gonzalez-Barba
Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur , Mexico

Jeffrey B. Graham
Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California , United States

Maribel Carrera-Fernandez
Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional , Mexico

Ofelia Escobar-Sanchez
Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional , Mexico

Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki
Laboratorio de Ecologia Pesquera, Departamento de Ecologia, CICESE , Mexico

Anet Rochin-Alamillo
Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur , Mexico


Artisanal fisheries in Mexico account for approximately 40% of the total national catch. In 2009, Baja California Sur (BCS) had the second largest catch of elasmobranchs on the Mexican Pacific coast. This paper characterizes and describes the artisanal elasmobranch fishery of Pacific coast of BCS from 2000 to 2010. Sixty artisanal camps were documented, of which 45 targeted elasmobranchs, using primarily gillnets and longlines. We identified 52 elasmobranch species. Gillnetting accounted for 73.5% of the fishing effort and most frequently captured Rhinobatos productus, Mustelus henlei and Myliobatis californica. Longline fishing accounted for 26.5% of effort, most frequently capturing Prionace glauca and Isurus oxyrinchus. The prevalence of juveniles of several species (e.g., Cephaloscyllium ventriosum, Galeorhinus galeus, Isurus oxyrinchus, and Myliobatis californica) within landings suggests that fishing effort may be opportunistically directed at breeding or nursery areas. Despite the dominance of species with wide distributions, we observed a significant biogeographic pattern in the abundance of some species relative to Bahia Magdalena. Results of the present study will be useful to detect changes in the structure of commercially exploited elasmobranch populations, and to provide useful indications for management purposes.


biogeographic pattern; elasmobranchs richness; fishing effort; Mexican coast; nursery areas; small-scale fishery

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