Shark Nursery Grounds of the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast Waters of the United States

Habitat Utilization, Relative Abundance, and Seasonality of Sharks in the Estuarine and Nearshore Waters of South Carolina

Glenn F. Ulrich, Christian M. Jones, William B. Driggers, III, J. Marcus Drymon, Douglas Oakley, and Catherine Riley


Abstract.—Sharks were collected from the estuarine and nearshore waters of South Carolina in an effort to delineate nursery grounds for coastal sharks within state waters. From March 1998 through December 2003, 4,098 sharks, representing 12 species, were collected using gill-net and hand-deployed longline fishing gears provided by the Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery Survey. To supplement these data, records of 6,648 shark captures, representing 16 species, from a long-term longline survey in South Carolina coastal waters were incorporated into the analyses. The results of this study indicate that the estuarine and nearshore waters of South Carolina represent an important primary nursery area for finetooth sharks Carcharhinus isodon, blacktip sharks C. limbatus, sandbar sharks C. plumbeus, Atlantic sharpnose sharks Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, and scalloped hammerheads Sphyrna lewini.