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  • 1.
    Abudaya, Mohammed
    et al.
    Natl Res Ctr, Palestine.
    Ulman, Aylin
    Univ British Columbia, Canada.
    Salah, Jehad
    Minist Agr, Palestine.
    Fernando, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Manta Trust, UK;Blue Resources Trust, Sri Lanka.
    Wor, Catarina
    Univ British Columbia, Canada.
    di Sciara, Giuseppe Notarbartolo
    Tethys Res Inst, Italy.
    Speak of the devil ray (Mobula mobular) fishery in Gaza2018In: Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, ISSN 0960-3166, E-ISSN 1573-5184, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 229-239Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Little is known about the giant devil ray (Mobula mobular), an endangered species endemic to the Mediterranean. Gaza is the only region where this species is targeted, hence, this fishery was studied to address the knowledge gap on fishery interactions, species behavior, and life-history traits. Devil rays have been frequenting this maritime area for at least the past 50 years for a short window from February to April. Landings are reported from 2005 to 2016, along with disc-width (DW) measurements for recent years. A total of 304 M. mobular (over 90% males) were landed in Gaza from 2014 to 2016, most which were mature and appeared to be mating (over 90% of males had sperm-filled claspers), providing critical insight that this area may serve as a mating ground. Yearly landings are shown here to closely match the allowed fishing distance from shore, which changes regularly, indicating that the rays are normally caught between 6 and 12 n.m. offshore. Width-weight conversion parameters are calculated for the first time for this species: a = 2.68 x 10(-6) and b = 4.39. Fresh protein drives this local fishery, as food security is a major issue. An export market for gill plates was reported intermittently, and is no longer possible due to strict trade restrictions. We highlight the lack of awareness of fishers regarding the IUCN's Red List 'Endangered' status of devil rays, and stress the urgent need for national protection of this species, particularly due to the species' very slow life-history traits and probable usage of this area as a mating ground.

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