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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 14:135-140 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00354

AS WE SEE IT
Killing for conservation: the need for alternatives to lethal sampling of apex predatory sharks

Neil Hammerschlag1,2,3,*, James Sulikowski

1Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
2Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, PO Box 248203, Coral Gables, Florida 33124, USA
3RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
4University of New England, Marine Sciences Department, Marine Science Center, 11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, Maine 04005, USA

ABSTRACT: Top oceanic predators, especially large predatory sharks (TOPS), appear to be experiencing varying degrees of population declines. Life history data (e.g. diet, reproductive status, age and growth, mortality) are critical for developing effective conservation strategies for TOPS. Presently, lethal sampling remains the most effective and accurate means of gathering these data. To meet such challenges, many scientists have utilized specimens obtained from recreational and commercial fisheries, but have needed to supplement those data with fishery-independent sampling. However, there is growing public and scientific debate as to whether lethal sampling of TOPS is justified for obtaining conservation data. Here we describe the development and use of non-lethal alternatives for collecting data on (1) trophodynamics; (2) maturity state and fecundity; and (3) growth and mortality rates necessary to enact conservation measures for threatened or even data-deficient TOPS.


KEY WORDS: Conservation · Shark · Scientific sampling · Lethal sampling · Population status · LifeÊhistory · Fisheries


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Cite this article as: Hammerschlag N, Sulikowski J (2011) Killing for conservation: the need for alternatives to lethal sampling of apex predatory sharks. Endang Species Res 14:135-140. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00354

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