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Covers the species of interest to fisheries of the major marine resource groups exploited in the Western Central Atlantic. The area of coverage includes FAO Fishing Area 31. The marine resource groups included are the bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods, stomatopods, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, hagfishes, sharks, batoid fishes, chimaeras, bony fishes, sea turtles and marine mammals. The introductory chapter outlines the environmental, ecological and biogeographical factors influencing the marine biota, and the basic components of the fisheries in the Western Central Atlantic. Within the field guide, the sections on the resource groups are arranged phylogenetically according to higher taxonomic levels such as class, order and family. Each resource group is introduced by general remarks on the group, an illustrated section on technical terms and measurements and a key or guide to orders or families. Each family generally has an account summarizing family diagnostic characters, biological and fisheries information, notes on similar families occurring in the area, a key to species, a checklist of species and a short list of relevant literature. Families that are less important to fisheries include an abbreviated family account and no detailed species information.