Characterization of the artisanal elasmobranch fisheries off the Pacific coast of Guatemala

Cristopher G. Avalos Castillo and Omar Santana Morales
Cover date
Published online 2 March 2021

The landings of the artisanal elasmobranch fisheries of 3 communities located along the Pacific coast of Guatemala from May 2017 through March 2020 were evaluated. Twenty-one elasmobranch species were identified in this study. Bottom longlines used for multispecific fishing captured ray species and represented 59% of the fishing effort. Gill nets captured small shark species and represented 41% of the fishing effort. The most frequently caught species were the longtail stingray (Hypanus longus), scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), and Pacific sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon longurio), accounting for 47.88%, 33.26%, and 7.97% of landings during the monitoring period, respectively. The landings were mainly neonates and juveniles. Our findings indicate the presence of nursery areas on the continental shelf off Guatemala. This study included the first survey of commercial exploitation of ray species in the artisanal fisheries off the Pacific coast of Guatemala. It is imperative to protect shark nursery areas and to develop management strategies for ray species that are important to artisanal fisheries.