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Himantura fai

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES DASYATIDAE

Scientific Name: Himantura fai
Species Authority: Jordan & Seale, 1906
Common Name(s):
English Pink Whipray
Taxonomic Notes: Inadequately known due to frequent misidentification with H. jenkinsii.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-09-06
Assessor(s): Manjaji, B.M., White, W.T. & Fahmi
Reviewer(s): Valenti, S.V. & Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
This stingray has a wide, but poorly defined range in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. It is frequently misidentified for H. jenkinsii. It is taken as a utilised bycatch of tangle/gillnet, trawlnet, and dropline fisheries throughout Southeast Asia and parts of the Indian Ocean. Inshore fishing pressure is intense throughout this species' range in Southeast Asia and in parts of the Indian Ocean. It is caught in particularly high numbers in the target fishery for rhynchobatids operating in the Arafura Sea. Although no species-specific data are available, overall catches of stingrays are reported to be declining, with fishermen having to travel further and further to sustain catch levels. Given continuing high levels of exploitation throughout its range in Southeast Asia and evidence for declines in catches of stingrays, this sub-population is assessed as Vulnerable. Fisheries in northern Australia are generally well managed and the introduction of Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) and other exclusion devices will have greatly reduced bycatch of this species. The species is considered at minimal threat throughout its wide range off northern Australia, where it is assessed as Least Concern because there is no information to suggest that this sub-population has declined. Little is known of populations throughout the rest of the species' range. Overall, this species is assessed as Least Concern globally due to its wide range off northern Australia and potential refuges in other areas of its range. However, this large species may have limiting life-history characteristics that would make it biologically vulnerable to depletion in fisheries. Therefore efforts should be made to assess and monitor mortality in fisheries and population trends throughout its range.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a wide, but poorly defined, range (White et al. 2006).

Indian Ocean
Western Indian Ocean: South Africa (Last and Compagno 1999), Suez, Egypt (R. Bonfil pers. comm.). Eastern Indian Ocean: Andaman Sea (Kuiter and Debelius 1994), Maldives (Anderson and Hafiz 1997), Myanmar.

Pacific Ocean
Northwest Pacific: Ryukyu Islands (Yoshigou and Yoshino 1999). Western central Pacific: South China Sea and Sulu Sea off Sabah (Fowler et al. 1999), Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and north to Myanmar, northern tropical Australia including the Java Sea, down to New South Wales (Last and Stevens 1994, Whittington and Last 1994), Caroline Islands (Homma et al. 1994), Orangere Bay, Papua New Guinea (P. Kailola pers. Comm.), Eiao, Marquesas Islands (J. Randall pers. Comm.), and Apia, Samoa (Jordan and Seale 1906, Manjaji 2004), Philippines, Micronesia.

Large aggregations occasionally occur on atolls of the Great Barrier Reef and throughout the Caroline Islands (Last and Stevens 1994).

FAO Fishing Area: 51, 57, 61, 71.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland); Egypt (Egypt (African part)); Indonesia; Japan (Nansei-shoto); Malaysia (Sabah); Maldives; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Myanmar (Coco Is., Myanmar (mainland)); Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; South Africa; Thailand; Viet Nam
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Common but not abundant in some areas in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines (M. Manjaji, Famhi B. Samiengo pers. obs. 2007). Can be relatively common in reef sand adjacent areas along northern Australia (W. White pers. obs. 2007).Large aggregations occasionally occur on atolls of the Great Barrier Reef and throughout the Caroline Islands (Last and Stevens 1994).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Found over soft substrates on the inner continental shelf, from the intertidal to at least 200 m depth. Reproduction is viviparous with histotrophy (White et al. 2006). Males reach maturity at 115.4-122.4 cm disc width (DW), but size at maturity for females is unknown (White and Dharmadi 2007). Maximum size is at least 184 cm DW and size at birth is reported at 30-55 cm DW (Manjaji 2004, White et al. 2006). Little is known of its biology and diet, but it is presumed to feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates (White et al. 2006).

Images taken by divers indicate that this species aggregates on sandy bottoms and coral reefs (M. Manjaji pers. Obs. 2007). This species has sometimes been observed to sit on top of each other (up to ten animals) (W. White pers. Obs. 2007) and has also been observed "catching a ride" on other larger ray species (in Ningaloo Marine Park, W Australia) (W. White pers. Obs. 2007) .
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is captured by demersal tangle net, bottom trawl and, to a lesser extent, longline fisheries in Indonesia and probably throughout other areas of its range (White et al. 2006). Inshore fishing pressure is high throughout much of this species known range in Southeast Asia.

This species is taken in commercial gillnet fisheries off Indonesia, particularly in the fishery that targets rhynchobatid rays in the Arafura Sea, and retained (Last and Compagno 1999, W. White pers. Obs. 2007). It is thought to be heavily impacted in this area, where more than 600 trawl vessels operate (W. White pers. obs. 2007). The Rhynchobatus species gillnet fishery catches large numbers of stingrays and Himantura fai is important in this fishery. Catches in inshore waters have declined and these vessels are having to travel longer and longer distances to sustain catches. The rhynchobatid fisheries are very intensive in this region, thus the level of exploitation is extremely high. There is also evidence that fishermen in these regions increasingly illegally fish in Australian waters (Chen 1996, W. White, unpubl. data).

In Sabah (Malaysia) and Indonesia, Himantura species are often caught and landed in the inshore fisheries (trawls and longlines) and are also taken by Danish seine fishing gear (M. Manjaji and Fahmi pers. obs. 2007). In Southeast Asia, most specimens caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries (especially trawlers) are landed and sold as food fish.

In Australia, large specimens are caught as byatch in the Australian Northern Prawn Trawl Fishery, but the introduction of Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) and other exclusion devices is thought to have greatly reduced bycatch of this species.

This species may be more vulnerable to depletion given its large size at maturity and maximum size compared to other Himantura species (Manjaji and Fahmi pers. obs. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Malaysia
In Malaysia, the Shark Specialist Group together with various government departments in Sabah and Sarawak States have initiated elasmobranch biodiversity studies since 1996 (Fowler et al. 2002). While the monitoring surveys should continue to ascertain the status and possible threats to this species here, as well as in other portions of its range. Further research is also required on the population, habitat and ecology and life history parameters. The fishery is largely unregulated (licenses being issued, but catches/ landings are not properly monitored), and presently there is no specific conservation actions in place to help address this problem.

Australia
The use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) has been compulsory since 2000 (Day 2000). The Northern Prawn Fishery Bycatch Action Plan (1998) also recommends that bycatch reduction targets be established and that bycatch levels be monitored (Day 2000).

Maldives
In 1995, 15 popular dive sites were declared marine protected areas in the Maldives with further protective measures under consideration (Anderson and Hafiz 1997). Himantura fai is one of the species that is fed daily at a popular dive site. The Maldives recognised the large economic value in terms of tourism that ray-watching brought and banned all exports of rays in June 1995 (Anderson and Hafiz 1997).

Citation: Manjaji, B.M., White, W.T. & Fahmi 2009. Himantura fai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 November 2014.
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