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Elasmobranch fisheries in the Arabian Seas Region: Characteristics, trade and management
- Jabado, Rima W, Spaet, Julia L Y
- Fish and fisheries 2017 v.18 no.6 pp. 1096-1118
- biodiversity conservation, exports, fish production, fisheries, fishermen, food security, interviews, livelihood, politics, sharks, socioeconomics, traditional technology, Arabian Sea, China, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
- The Arabian Seas Region plays an important role in the global landings and trade of sharks and rays. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen, two countries with stark socio‐economic differences, serve as major regional trade hubs for shark and ray products and four countries (Oman, Pakistan, UAE and Yemen) supply nearly 11% of dried fin exports to Hong Kong. Yet, little information is available on the characteristics of this trade and the fisheries contributing to it. Here, we review the fisheries characteristics, trade, utilization and distribution chain of sharks and rays in 15 countries of the Arabian Seas Region based on published and grey literature, landing surveys, field observations and interviews with fishermen and traders. Although regional shark fisheries remain mostly artisanal, reported shark and ray landings represent 28% of the regional total fish production, reaching 56,074 mt in 2012 (7.3% of total world catches), with Iran, Oman, Pakistan and Yemen ranking as the primary catchers. Utilization and distribution patterns are complex, vary between landing sites and countries, and remain unmonitored. Based on widespread over‐exploitation of most teleost fisheries, current exploitation levels for most sharks and rays are potentially unsustainable. The situation is exacerbated by limited research and political will to support policy development, the incomplete nature of fisheries data, as well as insufficient regulations and enforcement. A better understanding of shark and ray fisheries will be key for regulating trade, promoting conservation and developing management initiatives to secure food security, livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in the region.