Life-history, exploitation and extinction risk of the data-poor Baraka's whipray (Maculabatis ambigua) in small-scale tropical fisheries

Andrew J. Temple, Selina M. Stead, Narriman Jiddawi, Nina Wambiji, Nicholas K. Dulvy, Ellen Barrowclift, Per Berggren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Baraka's whipray (Maculabatis ambigua) is a major constituent of small-scale fisheries catch in the south-western Indian Ocean. Despite this, little is known of its life-history or exploitation status. We provide the first estimates of crucial life-history parameters and the maximum intrinsic population growth rate rmax, using specimens collected from small-scale fisheries landings in Kenya, Zanzibar and Madagascar (with northern Madagascar representing a range extension for this species). We assess the relative risk of overexploitation by combining rmax with estimates of total Z, fishing F, and natural M mortality, and an estimate of the exploitation ratio E. The data indicate that Baraka's whipray is a medium-sized, fast-growing, early maturing species, with a relatively long lifespan. This results in a high rmax relative to many other elasmobranchs, which when combined with estimates of F suggests that the species is not at imminent risk of extinction. Yet, estimates of exploitation ratio E indicate likely overfishing for the species, with full recruitment to the fishery being post-maturation and exploitation occurring across a broad range of age and size classes. Thus, Baraka's whipray is unlikely to be biologically sustainable in the face of current fisheries pressures. This paper makes an important contribution to filling the gap in available data and is a step towards developing evidence-based fisheries management for this species. Further, it demonstrates a simple and widely applicable framework for assessment of data-poor elasmobranch exploitation status and extinction risk.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-719
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of fish biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-27

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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