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Catch composition and reproductive biology of Sphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith) (Carcharhiniformes, Sphyrnidae) in Indonesian waters

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Abstract:

Data on the length compositions and reproductive biology have been collected for Sphyrna lewini in Indonesian waters, in which this species makes an important contribution to the biomass of its artisanal and small-scale fisheries. These data were obtained by recording relevant body measurements and counts for this species while visiting Indonesian fish landing sites. The fish, which had been caught by gillnetting and longlining, covered a wide length range and included substantial numbers of immature, maturing and mature individuals. The vast majority of S. lewini <1100 mm total length (LT) had been caught by gillnetting, whereas most of those above this length had been obtained through longlining. The number of embryos in pregnant females, which ranged from 14 to 41, with a mean of 25, was positively correlated with the LT of those females. Birth occurred at c. 400 mm LT and predominantly in October and November. The number of females was similar to that of males among smaller fish, but far greater than that of males among larger fish. This presumably reflects a faster growth and greater longevity of females, selectivity of longlining for females and a tendency for males to move outside the area fished. For males, the relationships between clasper length and the extent of its calcification, and also with sexual maturation and LT have been determined. Females attained maturity (LT50) at a far larger size (2285 mm) than males (1756 mm). The LT of virtually all females and all males taken by gillnetting were less than their respective LT50 at maturity, and c. 67 and 51% of the longline catches of females and males, respectively, were likewise immature. This feature, together with the substantial catches of S. lewini and the life cycle traits of elasmobranchs, suggest that this species is likely to be prone to overfishing in Indonesian waters. Furthermore, the removal of large numbers of this apex predator will presumably be affecting the trophic structure in the waters in which it is fished.

Keywords: Indonesia; Sphyrna lewini; artisanal fisheries; management implications; reproductive biology

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.01843.x

Affiliations: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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