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Conservation Genetics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 501–525 | Cite as

The importance of considering genetic diversity in shark and ray conservation policies

  • Rodrigo Rodrigues DominguesEmail author
  • Alexandre Wagner Silva Hilsdorf
  • Otto Bismarck Fazzano Gadig
Review Article

Abstract

Many populations of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) are experiencing severe declines due to the high demand for shark fins in Asia, the activities of unregulated fisheries, and increases in shark and ray catches. Recently, the effects of the decline in the populations of marine fish species on genetic diversity have drawn increasing attention; however, only a few studies have addressed the genetic diversity of shark and ray populations. Here, we report the results of a quantitative analysis of the genetic diversity of shark and ray species over the past 20 years and discuss the importance and utility of this genetic information for fisheries management and conservation policies. Furthermore, we suggest future actions important for minimizing the gaps in our current knowledge of the genetic diversity of shark and ray species and to minimize the information gap between genetic scientists and policymakers. We suggest that shark and ray fisheries management and conservation policies consider genetic diversity information, such as the management unit, effective population size (Ne), haplotype and nucleotide diversity, observed heterozygosity, and allelic richness, because the long-term survival of a species is strongly dependent on the levels of genetic diversity within and between populations. In addition, sharks and rays are a group of particular interest for genetic conservation due to their remarkable life histories.

Keywords

Conservation Elasmobranch Evolution Fisheries management Genetic variability Molecular marker 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank three anonymous reviewers and the editors of Conservation Genetics for their valuable suggestions for strengthening the manuscript during peer review. This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP #2009/54660-6 and #2013/08675-7) and by a grant from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development to OBFG (CNPq #308430-8).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrigo Rodrigues Domingues
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Alexandre Wagner Silva Hilsdorf
    • 2
  • Otto Bismarck Fazzano Gadig
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Biociências de Rio ClaroUniversidade Estadual Paulista, UNESPRio ClaroBrazil
  2. 2.Núcleo Integrado de BiotecnologiaUniversidade de Mogi das CruzesMogi das CruzesBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Pesquisa de Elasmobrânquios, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Estadual Paulista, Campus do Litoral PaulistaSão VicenteBrazil

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