Vulnerability of 14 elasmobranchs to various fisheries in the southern Gulf of Mexico

Bravo-Zavala FG, Pérez-Jiménez JC, Tovar-Ávila J, et al (2022) Vulnerability of 14 elasmobranchs to various fisheries in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Mar Freshwater Res 73:1064–1082.

Context: Shark and ray fisheries in the southern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are multispecific and use diverse fishing gear in multiple coastal areas.

Aim: Because no catch and fishing effort records by species exist, the aim of this study was to estimate the species’ vulnerability to fisheries through limited-data assessment methods.

Methods: The vulnerability to 14 fisheries through the productivity and susceptibility analysis (PSA) and rebound-potential method were estimated for 14 elasmobranchs.

Key results: Carcharhinus falciformis, Carcharhinus plumbeus and Sphyrna lewini among sharks, besides Hypanus americanus and Aetobatus narinari among rays, had the highest vulnerability and the lowest rebound potential. The sensitivity tests showed that the most significant differences in cumulative vulnerability (Cv) occur between two alternative widely applied PSA approaches. Cv determined from scores averaged over a range of susceptibility attributes tends to be higher than the product of the scores of four standard susceptibility attributes.

Conclusions: Significant correlations between Cv of Approach 1 and rebound-potential scenarios were estimated, indicating a general pattern in which the species’ rebound-potential increases while the vulnerability decreases.

Implications: The correlation between Cv (Approach 1) and rebound-potential highlights the suitability of PSA when enough information is available on the interactions of fisheries and populations.