RE: NANFA-- FWD: Protect the Atlantic spiny dogfish!

Hoover, Jan J WES (
Sun, 12 Mar 2000 11:54:35 -0600

Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) were "standards" for general biology and
anatomy courses. I dissected two in high school (Marine Biology and
[mostly-]Human Anatomy), and at least one in college (Comparative Vertebrate
Anatomy). I assume that specimens are still used in courses like these.

It would be interesting to know how many dogfish are used for dissection
relative to their other uses. I assume that the percentage is low, but the
numbers collected may be fairly high as specimens are still reasonably
inexpensive. One biological supply company offers 27" + specimens for
$6.50-$7.00 each, $12.70 if they are injected, $9.30-$10.30 if they are
pregnant. Dogfish pups are $1.05-$1.80. A 14" gar, by comparison, is $9.25
and would provide an interesting example for comparison with modern bony
fishes, amphibians, etc. Of course, the tools in most student dissecting
kits, and the students themselves, may not be up to the challenge presented
by ganoid armor.

My vertebrate anatomy prof told our class that historically tuataras were
readily available for dissections. Biologists, who should have been
sensitive to the danger of over-collecting long-lived, slow-to-mature
animals, apparently used them anyway, despite their rarity and limited

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Scharpf
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2000 10:03 PM
To: NANFA Mailing List
Subject: NANFA-- FWD: Protect the Atlantic spiny dogfish!

Protect the Atlantic spiny dogfish shark!

At the eleventh hour, a handful of Members of Congress from
Massachusetts have persuaded the Secretary of Commerce to
reconsider a long overdue plan to protect the overfished
Atlantic spiny dogfish shark. We need you to tell them that
this delay is unacceptable because it threatens the recovery
of our nation's public marine resources.

Spiny dogfish, or "cape shark," is a type of small shark
that grows slowly and takes about twelve years to mature.
Female dogfish are pregnant for almost two years--longer
than any other animal--before giving birth to an average of
only six offspring. These characteristics make dogfish
extremely susceptible to overfishing. Unregulated fishing
off the U.S. northeast coast in the 1990s severely depleted
the population, in particular, the numbers of mature
females, which fishermen target because they are larger than

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