The Distribution of Chondrichthyan fishes around the British Isles and implications for conservation.

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2004

Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science

Over 50 species of chondrichthyan fishes are known from waters around the British Isles, of which 26 have been recorded in The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) trawl surveys. The distribution and relative abundance of dogfishes, skates and rays are described from groundfish surveys in the North Sea, English Channel, Irish Sea and Celtic Sea. The contemporary distribution of species in relation to their biogeography and major changes in the distribution are discussed. Nursery areas of elasmobranchs were typically in shallower water than adult habitats, a pattern evident for blonde (Raja brachyura), thornback (R. clavata), small-eyed (R. microocellata) and spotted ray (R. montagui). In contrast, juvenile cuckoo ray Leucoraja naevus occurred further offshore and were most abundant in the western Irish Sea and northern St George’s Channel. Oviparous species require a suitable substratum for the deposition of eggs, and the distribution of egg-cases is illustrated and important egg-laying substrates identified.

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