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Sympterygia acuta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES ARHYNCHOBATIDAE

Scientific Name: Sympterygia acuta
Species Authority: Garman, 1877
Common Name(s):
English Bignose Fanskate
Spanish Raya, Raya Marrón Oscuro

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Massa, A. & Hozbor, N.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Cavanagh, R.D. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
A small inshore skate endemic to southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina occurring at 0 to 40 m depth. Its biology and ecology are poorly known. It was described as abundant off Brazil in the early 1980s, but trawl fishing in its habitat is intense and threatens the species. Off Buenos Aires Province, Argentina and Uruguay (34°-41°S), Sympterygia acuta is taken by the multi-species fleet that exploits the coastal demersal fish assemblage and has been landed since 1994. In Uruguay, this species is also one of the main targets of a bottom longline fishery. Landing statistics are unavailable for these fisheries because all species of batoids are recorded as "unidentified rays and skates". Data are not available on fishing impacts on this species off southern Brazil, although fishing pressure is also heavy along this coast. Off Argentina and Uruguay, biomass measured by research trawling decreased by 49% in the years 1994 to 1999, but recent data suggest that the biomass here was maintained between 1999 and 2003. The species is therefore assessed as Vulnerable A2bd, but may prove to be Endangered when more data becomes available. Species-specific information from all fisheries and continued monitoring of catches is essential to improve this assessment.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Coastal Southwest Atlantic waters from southern Brazil, Uruguay to northern Argentina (Menni and Stehmann 2000).
Countries:
Native:
Argentina; Brazil; Uruguay
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Southern Brazil, S. acuta occurs in shallow coastal waters (0 to 40 m depth). It was one of the most abundant fish species of the shallow zone throughout the year (Lessa and Vooren 1982, in Menni and Stehmann 2000).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The biology and ecology of this species are still poorly known. Off Brazil it occurs in shallow coastal waters (0 to 40 m depth). Maximum size: 47 cm total length (TL) (males), 50 cm TL (females) (Cousseau et al. 2000). Chiaramonte (unpubl. data) based on 16 specimens off Puerto Quequen (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina) found that females >48.2 cm TL and males >46.6 cm TL were mature.

S. acuta feeds on the shrimp Artemesia longinaris which comprises more than 50% of its diet. Other prey items include Polychaeta, Amphipoda, Cumacea, Isopoda, decapod crustaceans, Mollusca and teleost fish (Queiroz 1984, in Menni and Stehmann 2000).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:
UTILISATION
In Argentina, skates were discarded until 1994, but are now one of the most important commercial species. The fins at the distal margins are removed and sold mainly to Asian markets at high prices.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Off Buenos Aires Province, Argentina and Uruguay (34°-41°S), S. acuta is taken by the multi-species fleet that exploits the coastal demersal fish assemblage (Massa et al. in press). There are no data on catches as all species of batoids are registered in the fishery statistics as "unidentified rays and skates". In Uruguay, this species, along with Dipturus chilensis, Sympterygia bonapartei and Atlantoraja castelnaui are the main target species of a bottom longline fishery. Species-specific catch data are not available, but captures of this group of skates for the period 1999-2002 are estimated at 1,100 tonnes per year (Domingo, pers. comm.).

Trawl fishing in the habitat of the species is intense and the fishery threatens this species. In the coastal waters of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina and Uruguay (34°-41°S), biomass measured by research trawling decreased by 49% in the years 1994-1999 (Hozbor and Massa, unpubl. data). However, recent data suggest that the biomass was maintained between 1999 and 2003. Further monitoring is essential for information on longer-term trends.

UTILISATION
In Argentina, skates were discarded until 1994, but are now one of the most important commercial species. The fins at the distal margins are removed and sold mainly to Asian markets at high prices.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Argentina the species is included in the annual maximum permitted catch (MPC) of the fishery for coastal skates, established by the Argentine fisheries authorities. In the last two years the landings were higher than this value, and at present this is not an adequate management measure. Species-specific catch data are required as at present all species of batoids are registered in the fishery statistics as "unidentified rays and skates" in both Argentina and Uruguay.

The implementation of marine protected areas is a priority for this and other vulnerable marine taxa in the region.

Citation: Massa, A. & Hozbor, N. 2004. Sympterygia acuta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 August 2014.
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