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Subtropical pupping ground for a cold-water shark

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Porbeagle sharks (Lamna nasus) are large pelagic sharks apparently restricted to the cold temperate waters of the northern and southern hemispheres. Despite considerable knowledge of their biology, their pupping (birthing) grounds have never been identified. Pop-up archival transmission tags applied to 21 sharks off eastern Canada indicated that males and immature sharks of both sexes remained primarily on the continental shelf for periods of up to 348days after tagging. However, mature female porbeagles migrated up to 2356km through the winter, at depths down to 1360m beneath the Gulf Stream, to a subtropical pupping ground in the Sargasso Sea. In addition to this pupping ground being well south of their documented range, the placement of such a key life history stage in international, largely unregulated waters poses problems for the conservation and management of a species that is largely fished in Canadian waters.

Les maraîches (Lamna nasus) sont de grands requins pélagiques apparemment restreints aux eaux tempérées froides des hémisphères nord et sud. Bien que leur biologie soit bien connue, leurs sites de mise bas n’ont jamais été identifiés. Des étiquettes enregistreuses émettrices à déploiement automatique fixées à 21 requins au large de la côte est du Canada indiquent que les requins mâles et les immatures de deux sexes demeurent principalement sur la plateau continental pour des périodes pouvant atteindre 348 jours après le marquage. Cependant, les maraîches femelles matures migrent sur des distances de jusqu’à 2356km au cours de l’hiver à des profondeurs atteignant 1360m sous le Gulf Stream jusqu’à un site subtropical de mise bas dans la mer des Sargasses. En plus d’être nettement au sud de l’aire de répartition connue, la position du site de mise bas, une étape essentielle du cycle biologique, dans des eaux en grande partie non règlementées pose des problèmes pour la conservation de cette espèce qui est surtout pêchée dans les eaux canadiennes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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