|Scientific Name:||Urolophus bucculentus|
|Species Authority:||Macleay, 1884|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2bd ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Last, P.R. & Marshall, L.J.|
|Reviewer(s):||Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L. & Compagno, L.J.V. (Shark Red List Authority)|
A continental shelf and uppermost slope stingaree endemic to southeastern Australia at depths of 100 to 230 m. It may be patchily distributed within its range. The biology of this species is largely unknown but is likely to share reproductive characteristics with other urolophids including low fecundity (1-2 young per year), and its large size (to 80 cm total length) suggests that it may be slower growing than other urolophid species. The species is taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries off eastern and southern Australia. It is not known to be utilized and is generally discarded, although survivability when caught from depth is unknown but likely low. Of further concern is the high rate of abortion amongst urolophids when caught and handled, particularly given their low fecundity. Fishery-independent trawl surveys comparing the bycatch of chondrichthyans between 1976 to 1977 and 1996 to 1997 off the New South Wales upper slope documented an overall decline in the catch rate of urolophids of 65.6%. Urolophus bucculentus and U. viridis were the commonly caught species, while U. sufflavus and U. cruciatus were taken in smaller quantities. When broken down by individual survey grounds, reductions in urolophid catch rates were 45.0% off Sydney, 81.2% off Ulladulla and 90.5% off Eden. Fishing pressure on these trawl grounds remains high. Such overall declines would qualify the species for an Endangered listing, however, reduced trawling pressure in Bass Strait and off the west coast of Tasmania, minimize threats in those areas. An assessment of Vulnerable is appropriate given documented declines, probable limited biological characteristics and the fact that southeastern Australia receives a high level of fishing pressure from several fisheries employing various gear types.
|Range Description:||Southeastern Australian warm temperate endemic: from Beachport (South Australia) to Stradbroke Island (Queensland), including Victoria and NSW, and south to the Hippolyte Rocks (Tasmania). Replacement species for U. flavomosaicus in temperate Australia.|
Native:Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria)
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Captured in small quantities only, suggesting that it does not occur in large aggregations and that its distribution is patchy.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Continental shelf and upper slope in depths of 100 to 230 m (Last and Stevens 1994). Most common on the outer continental shelf presumably mainly on soft substrates. No specific studies so biology largely unknown. Likely to have low fecundity (1 to 2 young/year) as with other urolophid species (for example see White et al. 2001). Large size relative to other urolophids suggests slower growth rates.
Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length cm): All mature above 60cm TL (Trinnie 2003) (female); 40cm TL (Last and Stevens 1994) (male).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 80 cm TL (Last and Stevens 1994).
Size at birth (cm): Unknown.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Unknown.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.
Fishery-independent trawl surveys comparing the bycatch of chondrichthyans between 1976-77 and 1996-97 off the New South Wales upper slope documented an overall decline in the catch rate of urolophids of 65.6% (Graham et al. 2001). Urolophus bucculentus and U. viridis were the commonly caught species, while U. sufflavus and U. cruciatus were taken in smaller quantities. When broken down by individual survey grounds, reductions in urolophid catch rates were 45.0% off Sydney, 81.2% off Ulladulla and 90.5% off Eden. Urolophus bucculentus was taken on all survey grounds (Graham et al. 2001). Fishing pressure on these trawl grounds as part of the Commonwealth-managed Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) remains high.
This species has a high "availability" to shark gillnet gear in the SESSF. However, the species has a low "catch susceptibility" to all gear types (including shark gillnet and otter trawl) used in the fishery (catch susceptibility is defined as "availability" x "encounterability" x "selectivity" x "post-capture mortality"; Walker 2004).
State-managed fisheries also operate in the area of occurrence and depth range of U. bucculentus, for example the NSW Oceanic Prawn Trawl Fishery and the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery (Eastern King Prawn Deepwater Sector).
Bycatch is not appreciated by fishers because of its size and capacity to inflict painful wounds/difficult to handle. This may result in the persecution of bycatch. Of further concern is the high rate of abortion amongst urolophids when caught and handled, particularly given their low fecundity.
Research is required on the species' biology and habitat preferences given that its distribution appears to be patchy. Bycatch monitoring is required in all fisheries within the species' range. Effort reduction and/or bycatch minimization in southeastern Australian fisheries is required to allow recovery and this and other depleted chondrichthyans.
Reduced trawling pressure in Bass Strait and off the west coast of Tasmania minimize threats in those areas.
The effective implementation of the Australian National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (Shark Advisory Group and Lack 2004) (under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA-Sharks) will help to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species in Australia.
|Citation:||Last, P.R. & Marshall, L.J. 2006. Urolophus bucculentus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 January 2015.|