Conservation and management of exploited shark populations based on reproductive value

  • Gallucci V
  • Taylor I
  • Erzini K
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Several life history traits of sharks result in juveniles being particularly vulnerable to exploitation. However, population level impacts of harvests on juvenile sharks have not been well quantified. This paper examines a range of harvest strategies, including those targeting juveniles. Reproductive value and yield per recruit are used to compare the harvests, which are represented by Leslie matrix models with a harvest matrix. Two species are used as examples: the short-lived Rhizoprionodon taylori and the long-lived Squalus acanthias. Harvests that maintain a stationary population size cause reproductive values to change in opposing ways, but they remove equal fractions of the population’s reproductive potential. A new theorem gives population growth as a function of the fraction of reproductive potential removed by a harvest, a relationship useful for comparing harvests on juveniles and adults. Stochastic projections indicate that the risk of depletion is associated with the fraction of reproductive potential removed annually, a measure which encompasses the information in both the selectivity and the rate of fishing mortality. These results indicate the value of focusing conservation efforts on preserving reproductive potential.

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  • Vincent F Gallucci

  • Ian G Taylor

  • Karim Erzini

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