Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is 80-year-old mistake leading to first species to be fished to extinction?

Date:
November 19, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
A species of common skate is to become the first marine fish species to be driven to extinction by commercial fishing, due to an error of species classification 80 years ago.

A species of common skate is to become the first marine fish species to be driven to extinction by commercial fishing, due to an error of species classification 80 years ago, reveals research published November 17 in the journal Aquatic Conservation.

The European common skate, Dipturus batis, has been on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species since 2006, with France currently being responsible for 60.2% of reported landings. These catches are predominantly registered under the name 'D.batis,' however researchers, led by Dr Samuel Iglésias, show that 'D. batis' is in fact two clearly distinct species which have been incorrectly categorised as one since the 1920s.

From the mid-19th century the common skate was described as two distinct species, the flapper skate, D. intermedia, and the blue skate, D. flossada. However, in an influential work in 1926 R.S Clark recognised only 'D. batis' as a valid species and this classification has largely gone unchallenged since.

This classification confusion has resulted in the depletion of the flapper skate, the more endangered species of the two, being masked in the catch record. This means the risk of extinction is far higher than previously assessed and without immediate and incisive action the species may be in an irreversible decline towards extinction.

When conducting sampling in fish markets during the start of this study Dr Iglésias observed noticeable morphological differences in the 'Dipturus batis' specimens he sampled. In order to understand these differences the researchers not only analysed the systematic molecular data but also reviewed the species' life history and analysed fishery statistics.

"As the species was listed as 'Critically endangered' I wanted to understand who's who? I estimated at the beginning that it would take some weeks to resolve this question, but in the end it took me about two years," said Iglésias. "Our research clearly shows that D. cf. flossada and D. cf. intermedia are distinct and should be resurrected as two valid species."

Common Skates, which were once abundant in British and European waters, have been in sharp decline for decades. In 2008 the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) noted that the species is depleted in the Celtic and North Seas, the Skagerrak and the English Channel. The ICES advised no target fishing and that by-catch should be minimised.

"The threat of extinction for European Dipturus together with mislabelling in fishery statistics highlight the need for a huge reassessment of population for the different Dipturus species in European waters," concluded Iglésias. "Without revision and recognition of its distinct status the world's largest skate, D. cf. intermedia, could soon be rendered extinct."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Iglésias S.P., Toulhoat L., Sellos D.Y. Taxonomic confusion and market mislabelling of threatened skates: important consequences for their conservation status. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Is 80-year-old mistake leading to first species to be fished to extinction?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091117191048.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, November 19). Is 80-year-old mistake leading to first species to be fished to extinction?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091117191048.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Is 80-year-old mistake leading to first species to be fished to extinction?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091117191048.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) — Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins