The International Trade and Fishery Management of Spiny dogfish (Squalus Acanthias) in Light of CITES List Insertion : Alternative Management Strategies for the U.S. North Atlantic Stock

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Dell'Apa, Andrea

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East Carolina University


The spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is a commercial shark species that was recently considered, unsuccessfully, for inclusion in trade-regulation lists due to international concern about its conservation status. The major commercial demand for the species is from Europe, where the Northeast Atlantic stock has been managed unsuccessfully because of dysfunctionalities of EU fishery governance. The demand from the EU market is primarily for adult females, with the U.S. North Atlantic stock being one of the major contributors to this market. This primarily female fishery has led to overexploitation and a drastic reduction in both adult female biomass and juvenile recruitment in the U.S. Atlantic stock, forcing the adoption of a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) under the requirements of the U.S. fishery management system. The stock is now considered rebuilt and the U.S. Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery was recently certified as sustainable. However, new management strategies are needed to maintain fishery sustainability in the long-term. The first objective of this study was to analyze the EU trade dynamic changes associated with the introduction of the FMP by employing social network analysis. Results indicate that the EU market demand favoured the development of dogfish fisheries in several countries in order to supply to the decrease in U.S. export, eventually affecting the global conservation status of the species. Moreover, the species listing for trade regulation would benefit the U.S. and will enhance the conservation of other regional stocks worldwide. The second objective of this study was to investigate on the sex ratio changes in fishery-dependent surveys conducted off Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and to evaluate these results in light of the sexual segregation occurring in the species. Results support the development of a male-only directed fishery off the northeast portion of the Cape Cod peninsula, based on season (summer and early fall) and time of the day (early morning). This fishery would likely enhance the sustainability of the local spiny dogfish populations by reducing fishing pressure on the adult female component. Finally, results suggest that sexual segregation in S. acanthias off Cape Cod corresponds to female avoidance of males, coupled with specific mating and/or feeding behavior by males.  



Natural resource management, Conservation biology, CITES, Fishery governance, Fishery management, Shark fishery, Social network analysis