Paper - Biology of Etmopterus pusillus



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Coelho, R. & Erzini, K. 2007. Population parameters of the smooth lanternshark, Etmopterus pusillus, in southern Portugal (NE Atlantic). Fisheries Research, 86 (1): 42-57.




Etmopterus pusillus is a deep water lantern shark with a widespread global distribution that is caught in large quantities in some areas, but is usually discarded due to the low commercial value. In this work, the population biology was studied and life history parameters determined for the first time in this species. Age was estimated from sections of the second dorsal spine and validated by marginal increment analysis. Males attained a maximum age of 13 years, while 17-year-old females were found. Several growth models were fitted and compared for both size and weight at age data, showing that even though this is a small sized species, it has a relatively slow growth rate. This species matures late and at a relatively large size: at 86.81% and 79.40% of the maximum observed sizes and at 58.02% and 54.40% of the maximum observed ages for males and females, respectively. It has a low fecundity, with a mean ovarian fecundity of 10.44 oocytes per reproductive cycle. The estimated parameters indicate that this species has a vulnerable life cycle, typical of deep water squalid sharks. Given the high fishing pressures that it is suffering in the NE Atlantic, the smooth lantern shark may be in danger of severe declines in the near future.

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