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ISSN: 2332-2543
Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species
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Overexploitation of Rays and Sharks in the Mediterranean Sea

Monique Mancuso*

Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC) - National Research Council (CNR) -Section of Messina, Italy

*Corresponding Author:
Monique Mancuso
Institute for Coastal Marine Environment
(IAMC)-National Research Council (CNR)-Section of Messina
Spianata S. Raineri, Messina, Italy
Tel: (+39) 0815423804
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 20, 2015; Accepted date: February 23, 2015; Published date: March 03, 2015

Citation: Mancuso M (2015) Overexploitation of Rays and Sharks in the Mediterranean Sea. J Biodivers Endanger Species 3:e123. doi:10.4172/2332-2543.1000e123

Copyright: © 2015 Mancuso M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Elasmobranchs; Overfishing; Mediterranean Sea


The Mediterranean Sea is a semi-enclosed marine basin characterized by complex and diverse marine communities [1,2].

Mediterranean basin is one of the world’s richest places in terms of animal and plant diversity [3] and it was recognized as one of the first 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots [4].

In the Mediterranean sea Elasmobranchs are characterized by their diversity with 49 sharks and 36 rays [5-8].

Unfortunately, the exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea [9] along with the biological characteristics of the Elasmobranchs (i.e. low growth rate, late sexual maturity and low fecundity, low rates of biomass turnover) [10], has meant that many species are over exploited and extinction threatened [11]. In the last 200 years there was a dramatic decline of large predatory sharks in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge on the biology and fishery of Elasmobranchs in many parts of the Mediterranean, for many species there is a total absence of data [12].

Today, many sharks and rays are listed on the Red List of threatened species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1982) as well as Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity (1995), Action Plan for the Conservation of Cartilaginous Fishes in the Mediterranean Sea and the EU Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks ensure the conservation of wild flora and fauna species and their habitats giving special attention to endangered and vulnerable species.

All these protection measures together with a multifocal study comprising: monitoring of the species and their environment, a detailed study of the biology of the species and their ecological role and the analysis of the Elasmobranchs community must be made by further research to define the criteria for protection and prevention on endangered Mediterranean species.


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