Mediterranean stingray presence confirmed in the Gulf of Cadiz
2017-04-19 16:34:56   copyfrom:    hits:

The specimen of Raja asterias caught last year during the ARSA fisheries research survey (Photo: IEO)SPAINWednesda

The specimen of Raja asterias caught last year during the ARSA fisheries research survey. (Photo: IEO)


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 21:50 (GMT + 9)


A team of scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) has confirmed the presence of a type of stingray believed to be endemic to the Mediterranean in the Gulf of Cadiz.

Researchers from the oceanographic centres of the Balearic Islands, Malaga and Cadiz of the IEO together with scientists from the University of the Balearic islands and of the Environmental Protection Agency of Toscana Region (ARPAT) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) have published the first confirmed genetic and morphologic record of stingray Raja asterias in Atlantic waters, a species considered endemic in the Mediterranean so far and cataloged in the red list of the IUCN as almost threatened.

It is a species of chondrichthyes fish, a group especially vulnerable to the effects of fishing, which inhabits on the seabed, mainly in shallow waters, not more than 200 meters deep. Its maximum size is between 70 and 90 centimetres approximately.

The specimen studied, a mature female of just over 60 centimetres and 1.5 kilograms, was caught using trawling gear during the ARSA fishing resource assessment survey. These surveys are carried out annually in the trawling fishery of the Gulf of Cadiz.

This discovery indicates the need to include the Atlantic population of this stingray species in the description of its geographical distribution and in future assessments of its state of exploitation.

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