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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found near shore on sandy-mud bottoms (Ref. 11230, 30573). Reported to occur offshore (Ref. 58784). Feeds on small benthic animals. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). The best edible fish in the family, served in raw slices or hard boiled with seasonings (Ref. 637). Dried fins used for shark-fin soup (Ref. 30573).
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Distribution

Range Description

Possibly endemic to the northwest Pacific, centered off Japanese Archipelago. From Ibaragi and Niigata Prefecture, Japan south to the East China Sea and South China Sea (Yamada et al. 2007). See Taxonomy section for further details.
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Western Pacific: Korea to Australia. Records from India and Oman may not be this species.
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Western Pacific; possibly Indian Ocean.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 1000 mm TL
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Max. size

100.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 637))
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Benthic in inshore habitats, reported at depths of 80?230 m. Attains a maximum size of 97 cm total length (TL) (Yamada et al. 2007). Reproduction is aplacental viviparous with litter sizes from 2?7 pups and a gestation period of 12 months (Yamada et al. 2007). Diet consists of fishes, shrimps and cephalopods.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range ? - 200 m (Ref. 30573)
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Depth: 0 - 200m.
Recorded at 200 meters.

Habitat: demersal.
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Trophic Strategy

Found on sandy-mud bottoms. Feeds on small benthic animals. Also in Ref. 9137.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Compagno, L.J.V. & Ishihara, H.

Reviewer/s
Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
The Brown Guitarfish (Rhinobatos schlegelii) was described from Japan and may be endemic to northwest Pacific waters. There are significant problems with the systematics of the ?Rhinobatos schlegelii? group. This species is known from nominal records from China, Taiwan and Korea and an uncertain record from Viet Nam. Reports from other areas represent other species. It is susceptible to capture in a variety of fishing gear including trawl, gillnet and line fisheries and rhinobatids are highly valued for their fins. Historical fishing pressure has been relatively intensive across its known range, although increases in fuel prices have reportedly led to some decrease in recent years off Japan. Other Rhinobatos species have proved vulnerable to population depletion as a result of their limiting life-history characteristics and serious declines have been reported in similar species where they are heavily fished. Taxonomic uncertainty and a lack of trend data mean that this species is currently assessed as Data Deficient, although it may prove to be threatened when these issues are resolved.
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Population

Population
No specific data are available on temporal population trends, Due to heavy fishing and bycatch pressures throughout its range this species is suspected to be declining.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Like other rhinobatids, this species? biology makes it highly susceptible to population depletion. It is susceptible to capture in a variety of fishing gear including trawl, gillnet, and line. Net and line fisheries operate over much of the known range of this species and as such it is impacted by direct and indirect fishing pressure and landed where the flesh is utilised. It is unlikely to withstand the present level of fishing pressure across its range and habitat. This level of pressure will increase in the future as areas of the northwest Pacific are more heavily exploited due to an increasing human population and expanding global fisheries.

Habitat requirements are not well understood, but inshore areas are important as nursery areas for Rhinobatos species and these are being impacted upon by fishing activities and environmental degradation/pollution.

Historical fishing pressure is generally intensive in the northwest Pacific (NOAA 2004ab). However, increases in fuel prices have reportedly led to some decrease in fishing activities in recent years off Japan (H. Ishihara pers. obs. 2007).
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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In the first instance, taxonomic issues need to be resolved. This will allow accurate mapping of the species? range.

There is a need to acquire accurate catch data from fisheries throughout the species? distribution. Better understanding of habitat requirements and critical area/habitats is required to establish best amelioration processes.

Future management will need to consider harvest and trade management with a focus on resource stewardship and livelihood alternatives.

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 management of all elasmobranch species. See Anon. (2004) for an update of progress made towards development and implementation of National Plans of Action for countries across the range of
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial
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