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Mustelus palumbes

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES TRIAKIDAE

Scientific Name: Mustelus palumbes
Species Authority: Smith, 1957
Common Name(s):
English Whitespot Smoothhound

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Smale, M.J.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D., Kyne, P.M., Stevens, J., Pollard, D. & Dudley, S. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Mustelus palumbes is a southern African endemic (southern Mozambique to southern Namibia), active offshore demersal species, caught from the intertidal to 611 m (most records 25 to 286 m) and reportedly common offshore. It is known to be taken as bycatch by commercial trawl fisheries off the south and west coasts of South Africa. Although species-specific data are not available, there are indications from demersal fish biomass assessment cruises off South Africa that Mustelus species may be declining. Despite its apparent common status and the likelihood that there are parts of its habitat which are untrawlable, there may be some cause for concern due to developments with other fishing methods in these areas. There is no information from elsewhere in its range. Given the limitations of the available information this species cannot be assessed beyond Data Deficient at the present time. Further research is necessary and bycatch should be recorded at the species level.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Off South Africa this species is taken mainly from Agulhas Banks to west of Cape Town.
Countries:
Native:
Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape Province, Western Cape)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Compagno et al. (2005) describe this species as common offshore.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Occurs from shallow subtidal sandy beaches to 611 m. Most records from trawls at 25 to 286 m (Compagno et al. 1989, Compagno et al. 1991, Compagno pers.comm.) This species is found over sandy bottoms. It is also found near reefs, but seems mainly a soft-substrate species. Viviparous with a litter size of 3 to 15 (average 6.9).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length): Female: 80 to 100 cm TL; Male: 75 to 85 cm TL.
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 113 cm TL.
Size at birth: 27.5 to 31cm TL.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Litter size 3 to 15, average 6.9.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Caught rarely by shore-based line fishers in shallow subtidal areas and usually discarded. Caught in trawl fisheries on both the south and west coasts of South Africa. Quantities taken by trawl are unknown and unrecorded. It is not being monitored in detail: this species is grouped together with M. mustelus, and data are very limited. However, recent data from South Africa suggests that trawl catches of Mustelus spp. taken by demersal fish biomass assessment cruises are declining. It should also be noted that although there are large areas of its range which are untrawlable (such as the Agulhas Bank, South Africa), there are changes occurring in fishing methods now being used in areas that used not to be trawled - i.e., hake longlining, and, together with demersal targeted shark fishing (mainly for Galeorhinus galeus), M. palumbes are likely to also be taken but probably not recorded. Indeed much of its habitat is the subject of various fisheries including demersal trawlers, shark longliners and recreational anglers.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a lack of species-specific data (identification is problematic) and catches should be monitored, preferably by onboard observers. Information is also required on its biological productivity.

The recreational line fishery in South Africa is managed by a bag limit of one per species per person per day for unspecified chondrichthyans, which includes this species.

The development and implementation of management plans (national and/or regional e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA?Sharks) are required to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species in the region. Namibia?s National Plan of Action for Sharks (NPOA-Sharks) has been approved by the government, South Africa?s is stalled, still awaiting government approval and this process should occur as a matter of urgency. At the time of writing Mozambique had not yet begun to develop an NPOA (Anon 2004).

Citation: Smale, M.J. 2006. Mustelus palumbes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
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