Guitarfish survey data
The blackchin guitarfish (Glaucostegus cemiculus) was listed as ‘endangered’ species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and was elevated to ‘critically endangered’ as of 2019. There have been observations of juvenile and neonate guitarfish along our shores, namely Ma’agan Michael, so a research project, the first of its kind, was initiated by the Marine Apex Predators laboratory in 2017. Their objectives were:
- Provide non-existent baseline data, at a local scale
- Verifying which species dominates our coastline: since Rhinobatus rhinobatus and G. cemiculus co-exist in Israeli territorial waters and morphological identification is problematic, there is a need to identify and establish which species is present in Ma’agan Michael through taxonomic means.
- Nursery ground verification: investigate whether Ma’agan Michael is utilized as a nursery ground according to the accepted criteria, and to compare it to other locations along the Israeli coastline.
With this substantial knowledge gap in the basic biological and ecological data, conservation efforts cannot be made to protect these species. In order to better understand and protect these species, critical habitats need to be defined.
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Data from the Morris Kahn marine Research Station: https://med-lter.haifa.ac.il/