March 1, 2007

The Elasmobranch Motherload

Australian researchers found 20 new species of sharks and rays by monitoring the daily catches of Indonesian fishermen in Bangkok:

The survey [...] represents the first in-depth look at Indonesia's sharks and rays since Dutch scientist Pieter Bleeker described more than 1,100 fish species from 1842-60.

[It] was part of a broader project working toward improved management of sharks and rays in Indonesia and Australia, researchers said.

"Good taxonomic information is critical to managing shark and ray species, which reproduce relatively slowly and are extremely vulnerable to overfishing," White said in a statement. "It provides the foundation for estimating population sizes, assessing the effects of fishing and developing plans for fisheries management and conservation."

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