Scientia Marina, Vol 83, No S1 (2019)

Spatial variability of Chondrichthyes in the northern Mediterranean


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.04998.23A

Maria C. Follesa
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8320-9974

Martina F. Marongiu
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0582-8865

Walter Zupa
COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2058-8652

Andrea Bellodi
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9017-1692

Alessandro Cau
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4082-7531

Rita Cannas
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6627-4053

Francesco Colloca
Stazione Zoologica A. Dohrn, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0574-2893

Mirko Djurovic
Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro, Montenegro
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4352-9911

Igor Isajlovic
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Croatia
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7101-9575

Angélique Jadaud
MARBEC-IFREMER, IRD, Université Montpellier 2, CNRS, France
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6858-3570

Chiara Manfredi
Laboratorio di Biologia Marina e Pesca di Fano, Università di Bologna, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2852-4856

Antonello Mulas
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1635-691X

Panagiota Peristeraki
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters - University of Crete, Biology Department, Greece
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8608-078X

Cristina Porcu
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2649-6502

Sergio Ramirez-Amaro
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Spain
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0298-0749

Francisca Salmerón Jiménez
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga, Spain
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8907-5444

Fabrizio Serena
National Research Council, Institute for Coastal Marine Environment, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1428-8124

Letizia Sion
Department of Biology, University of Bari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0308-1841

Ioannis Thasitis
Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Cyprus
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0940-2212

Angelo Cau
Department of Life and Environmental Science, University of Cagliari, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6897-2127

Pierluigi Carbonara
COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Italy
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2529-2535

Abstract


Thanks to the availability of the MEDITS survey data, a standardized picture of the occurrence and abundance of demersal Chondrichthyes in the northern Mediterranean has been obtained. During the spring-summer period between 2012 and 2015, 41 Chondrichthyes, including 18 sharks (5 orders and 11 families), 22 batoids (3 orders and 4 families) and 1 chimaera, were detected from several geographical sub-areas (GSAs) established by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. Batoids had a preferential distribution on the continental shelf (10-200 m depth), while shark species were more frequent on the slope (200-800 m depth). Only three species, the Carcharhiniformes Galeus melastomus and Scyliorhinus canicula and the Torpediniformes Torpedo marmorata were caught in all GSAs studied. On the continental shelf, the Rajidae family was the most abundant, being represented in primis by Raja clavata and then by R. miraletus, R. polystigma and R. asterias. The slope was characterized by the prevalence of G. melastomus in all GSAs, followed by S. canicula, E. spinax and Squalus blainville. Areas under higher fishing pressure, such as the Adriatic Sea and the Spanish coast (with the exception of the Balearic Islands), show a low abundance of chondrichthyans, but other areas with a high level of fishing pressure, such as southwestern Sicily, show a high abundance, suggesting that other environmental drivers work together with fishing pressure to shape their distribution. Results of generalized additive models highlighted that depth is one of the most important environmental drivers influencing the distribution of both batoid and shark species, although temperature also showed a significant influence on their distribution. The approach explored in this work shows the possibility of producing maps modelling the distribution of demersal chondrichthyans in the Mediterranean that are useful for the management and conservation of these species at a regional scale. However, because of the vulnerability of these species to fishing exploitation, fishing pressure should be further incorporated in these models in addition to these environmental drivers.

Keywords


fish; Chondrichthyes; bottom trawl surveys; distribution; abundance; Mediterranean

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