Catch Composition, Seasonality, and Biological Aspects of Sharks Caught in the Ecuadorian Pacific
Although sharks have a fundamental role in maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems, exerting a great influence on lower levels of the food chain, their populations are declining worldwide due, to a large extent, to overfishing. Of the 64 species registered in Ecuador, from January to December 2019, 19 species were recorded in Manta from the 15,455 captured individuals, with the family Carcharhinidae being the most abundant in the catches (69.4%), and the most abundant species was Prionace glauca (57.9%). Regarding threatened species, such as Carcharhinus longimanus, Sphyrna lewini, and Sphyrna zygaena, a greater presence of immature specimens was observed in landings. However, information on the composition and biological aspects of shark species in the Ecuadorian Pacific is very scarce. Therefore, research on the characteristics of life history (age, growth, and maturity) are of utmost importance for the stock assessments that are being exploited, especially in developing countries, where this information is lacking, causing inadequate management of fishery resources.