Lives of Patagonian SharksLatest update January 28, 2019 Started on September 1, 2018
Patagonia’s shark populations are very poorly understood. We are collecting fundamental data on endemic and endangered sharks, such as the tope shark, through a catch-and-release tagging program with local fishers and an acoustic tagging by our team of researchers in Northern Patagonia, Argentina.
Tope sharks (or soupfin) is a widespread species, but populations are likely to be isolated around the world. Galeorhinus galeus is mainly coastal and bottom associated shark of temperate areas which has been fished in all parts of its distribution. The tope shark gillnet fishery in Argentina plummeted in 1998. Based on declines of at least 90% over the past 20-40 years from southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina (Southwest Atlantic Ocean population), this species is listed today as Critically Endangered.
WCS is commited to identify and describe key areas in Patagonian waters to improve its conservation. We hope to deploy the OpenROV soon to start recording key pupping and parturition sites by the first time.
The Patagonia Sea is home to the southern right whale, elephant seals, and sea lions which have been studied extensively. The same cannot be said for sharks in the area. We are attempting to identify and describe the egg-laying and pupping areas of endemic and endangered shark and skates species in northern Patagonia, Argentina. This involves a range of tools including a catch-and-release tagging program with local fishers and acoustic tagging by our team of researchers. Little is known and this work will be the first of its kind in the Patagonia Sea. The region is known for high winds and tough conditions at sea; we are sure to face lots of challenges as we learn about these species.
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