Alternate Title

At-Vessel Fishing Mortality for Six Species of Sharks Caught in the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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From 1994-2005 the Commercial Shark Fishery Observer Program (CSFOP) placed fishery observers aboard US bottom longline vessels engaged in directed fishing for sharks in the region from New Jersey to Louisiana, USA. Observers routinely recorded species specific at-vessel mortality as related to enduring the stress oflongline capture. Data for 5 species of sharks (sandbar Carcharhinus plumbeus, blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus, dusky Carcharhinus obscurus, tiger Galeocerdo cuvier, scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini, and great hammerhead Sphyrna mokilrran) were analyzed in this study. Multiple stepwise linear regressions indicate that age group, soak time and bottom water temperature can be used as predictors of at-vessel mortality and that size restrictions, size selective gear, restricting the soak time and time/area closures may be beneficial to fisheries targeting large coastal sharks.

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