Article

Sexual segregation of pelagic sharks and the potential threat from fisheries.

Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, CSIC, Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain.
Biology letters (Impact Factor: 3.43). 05/2009; 5(2):156-9. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0761
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Large pelagic sharks are declining in abundance in many oceans owing to fisheries exploitation. What is not known however is whether within-species geographical segregation of the sexes exacerbates this as a consequence of differential exploitation by spatially focused fisheries. Here we show striking sexual segregation in the fastest swimming shark, the shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus, across the South Pacific Ocean. The novel finding of a sexual 'line in the sea' spans a historical longline-fishing intensity gradient, suggesting that differential exploitation of the sexes is possible, a phenomenon which may underlie changes in the shark populations observed elsewhere.

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