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Summary

Elasmobranchs are an important catch component in Tunisian artisanal fisheries. Generally, species-specific information is largely unavailable for artisanal fisheries; an increase in knowledge thereof is essential to ensure proper management of these species. The study analyzed the gillnet fishery elasmobranch catches in the Gulf of Gabès, whereby 45 fishing trips were conducted from April to June 2007 and 2008 for the capture of a total of six species: three Rajiformes and three Carchariniformes. Rhinobatos cemiculus was the most important species (52%; 4.588 ind km−2 net per day). Among shark species, Mustelus mustelus was the most important (66.8%; 2.21 ind km−2 net per day). Discards represented 6.87% of total catch in weight and 14.28% in number of specimens caught. Size composition of captures varied by species, but usually mature, mainly gravid females were abundant. Further investigations are needed to obtain more information on such fragile species for the development of protective measures.