The ~1,250 species of chondrichthyan fishes (sharks, skates, rays, chimaeras) are one of the world’s three groups of living fishes and most threatened groups of vertebrates. Globally, one in every four chondrichthyan species is threatened and much of the rest are almost threatened due to fishing, habitat destruction and pollution. In the Argentine Sea 43 species of chondrichthyans (41.5%) are Threatened (7 are Critically Endangered, 7 are Endangered; 29 are Vulnerable), 14 species (13.5%) are Near Threatened or Least concern and 33 species (31.5%) are Data Deficient.
One major component of Argentine commercial fisheries, in recent decades, has been of chondrichthyans, with rays at the top of the list. Argentina is responsible for one of the highest capture rates of chondrichthyans in the world, occupying the fifth place globally from 2000-2012. Recreational fisheries are also a source of mortality for coastal sharks with illegal catch and retain practices, including some Marine Protected Areas.
We proceed with the development of a 10 year Strategy that incorporates regional with national needs and priorities. A situational analysis, reviewing research and fisheries activities as well as the policy context and tools available in the region, is undertaken to develop a database of current status information on sharks, skates, and rays in Patagonia. This work helps identify and assess policy and research gaps, as well as possible future policy opportunities, conservation priorities, and enforcement needs. At the same time we conduct research on priority species and fisheries to contribute in reversing this situation.