Elasmobranch Communities On Panama’s Caribbean Coast: Fisheries-independent Monitoring In The Bocas Del Toro And Guna Yala Archipelagos

Megan Chevis*, Ana Batista, Leyson Navarro, Rachel T. Graham.

Fisheries-independent data on elasmobranchs in Panama are lacking, notably for sites along the country’s Caribbean coast. The Bocas del Toro (BDT) and Guna Yala (GUN) coral reef archipelagos host a variety of similar marine benthic habitats, including sheltered coral reefs, seagrass, and exposed rocky reefs, though they differ in accessibility and fishing pressure. Annual monitoring was conducted at stations in BDT and GUN for three and one years, respectively, to assess the relative abundance and distribution of large marine wildlife (shark, ray, piscivorous finfish, turtle) communities around the islands.

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