Fifteen years of extensive and inadvertent elasmobranch trade in Brazil detected by DNA tools

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Marcela Alvarenga, Ingrid Vasconcellos Bunholi, Gustavo Reis de Brito, Marcos Vinícius Bohrer Monteiro Siqueira, Rodrigo Rodrigues Domingues, Patricia Charvet, Fausto Foresti, Antonio Mateo Solé-Cava, Vanessa Paes da Cruz


The trade of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in Brazil raises significant concerns due to the country's rich endemic biodiversity. The present study explores the use of DNA-based tools to monitor the Brazilian elasmobranch trade, focusing on their role in identifying processed products and supporting conservation efforts. A systematic search of literature was carried out and included 35 peer-reviewed articles published between 2008 and 2023. We observed a shift in research focus since 2015 from the development of DNA-based tools to direct trade application. Molecular identification challenges, including costly sequencing and limited resources in national databases, were identified along with proposed solutions, such as protocol optimization and exploration of cost-effective alternatives. Biases in trade analysis papers, particularly a lack of research in the Northeast region of Brazil, as well as issues with sample sizes were evident. Species identified using DNA-based tools included the critically endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini), appearing in 46% of the evaluated papers, followed by the Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), and several others threatened species, including the critically endangered endemic Brazilian Guitarfish (Pseudobatos horkelii) and the recently categorized vulnerable Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon porosus). Other species were reassessed, including previously non-threatened species that are now at risk, emphasizing the need for conservation measures. Our findings highlight the importance of continuing genetic monitoring of shark and ray trade in Brazil, calling for conservation efforts and law enforcement to protect elasmobranch populations, and recommending strategies for accurate species identification, expanded research, and effective management.



Biodiversity, Life Sciences


DNA-based tools, elasmobranchs, conservation genetics, endemic species, Brazilian trade, fisheries genetics, forensics, meta-analysis, elasmobranchs, conservation genetics, endemic species, Brazilian trade, fisheries genetics, forensics, meta-analysis


Published: 2023-10-18 02:41

Last Updated: 2023-10-18 09:41


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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