Sharp declines in numerous shark populations around the world have generated considerable interest in better understanding and characterising their biology, ecology and critical habitats.
The scalloped hammerhead shark (SHS, Sphyrna lewini) is subject to a multitude of natural and anthropogenic threats that are often exacerbated within the coastal embayments and estuaries used during SHS early life stages.
In this study, we describe the temporal and spatial distribution, age class composition, and reproductive biology of SHS in the Rewa Delta (RD), Fiji.
A total of 1054 SHS (including 796 tagged individuals; 101 of which were recaptured) were captured from September 2014 to March 2016 in the RD. A majority of the captures in this area were neonates and young-of-the-year (YOY) (99.8%).
Significant seasonality in patterns of occurrence of both neonates and YOY individuals suggests a defined parturition period during the austral summer.
Between the seven sampling sites in the RD we also found significant differences in SHS neonate catch per unit of effort, and average total length of individuals. According to the data, the RD is likely to represent an important nursery area for SHS up to one year of age.
Authors: Amandine D. Marie, Cara Miller, Celso Cawich, Susanna Piovano & Ciro Rico.