Baited drumlines were employed to assess the relative abundance and demographics of sharks in three distinct but contiguous areas of the sublittoral environment of the eastern Caicos Bank, with a view to equipping policy-makers in the Turks and Caicos Islands with information pertinent to the conservation of local shark populations. Overall, the catch was dominated by nurse Ginglymostoma cirratum and Caribbean reef Carcharhinus perezi sharks, but tiger Galeocerdo cuvier, lemon Negaprion brevirostris, blacknose Carcharhinus acronotus and great hammerhead Sphyrna mokarran sharks were also captured. Size distributions were consistent with a combination of sexually mature and immature animals for most of these species. The results confirm that shallow sand flat, deep sand flat and coral reef environments are utilised by a variety of shark species and life stages, including the movement of individuals between these areas. Therefore, current marine protected areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which mostly centre on nearshore and coral reef environments, probably afford local shark populations only partial protection.
- Coral reef
- Sand flats
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science