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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fish Bulletin No. 45. The Sharks and Rays of California

  • Author(s): Walford, Lionel A
  • et al.

This paper has been written to furnish a relatively simple means of distinguishing between the different kinds of sharks and rays in California and to establish official common names for each of these species.

There are 23 kinds of sharks and 15 kinds of rays recorded from the coast of California. of these, about 12 of the former and eight or nine of the latter may be considered common enough to be caught almost any time; the rest are only occasional or rare visitors. Commercial fishermen, catching these fish only incidentally while fishing for other things, discard the greater part of the shark and ray catch as unmarketable, killing the fish and throwing them back into the sea. Sport fishermen, fishing in sloughs, along the shore from pleasure piers, and from pleasure boats, likewise often catch these fishes, and usually also cast them aside as worthless. This wastefulness is simply another sign of the great wealth of the country, which permits people to choose only the choicest morsels in the ocean and to destroy whatever else they find. As it becomes necessary for fishermen to look for more expensive species farther and farther away, as present trends indicate, it is possible that attention will be drawn to the cheaper grades of fish nearer home. It is characteristic of older fisheries centers, that the people utilize the marine products to a much greater extent than we of a new fishery center do.

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