One-Quarter Of Sharks And Rays Could Be Gone Within Decades

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One quarter of the world's cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays are in danger of disappearing within the next few decades.

The survey is the first to stretch their observations into "coastal seas and oceans." They found 249 (one-quarter) out of 1,041 shark, chimaera and ray species are considered threatened under the IUCN red list, a Simon Fraser University news release reported.

"We now know that many species of sharks and rays, not just the charismatic white sharks, face extinction across the ice-free seas of the world," Nick Dulvy, a Simon Fraser University (SFU) Canada Research Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, said in the news release. "There are no real sanctuaries for sharks where they are safe from overfishing."

A study involving 300 experts and taking place over 20 years took "distribution, catch, abundance, population trends, habitat use, life histories, threats and conservation measures" into account when looking at the conservation status of the species'.

One-hundred-and-seven species of rays and skates and 74 shark species were defined as "threatened." Only 23 percent of all the species studied were considered to be of "Least Concern."

The team found the regions where these species were most threatened were the Indo-Pacific, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean.

Written By: Rebekah Marcarelli
continue to source article at hngn.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. Since Western Australia had a couple of recent shark attacks the government there has decided a ‘cull’ is in order. They do not seem to accept the fact that shark attacks are more common simply because more people go into their environment and perhaps also because their food sources are being over fished.

    • In reply to #4 by Martin_C:

      If you care about whether sharks will continue to inhabit our planet then you should write to the Australian government NOW. West Australia has decided to ignore laws against hunting endangered great whites and is organizing systematic culling. It’s despicable, especially in this century. Shame on y…

      How Ironic.

      We are a population of 7 Billion Humans, of which as many as 6 billion identify themselves as religious. Many of them believe that they are somehow superior to other animals.

      This is just one of the many ways, that make it so much easier for humanity to ignore our ‘Bigger Brains’ in favour of a desire to prioritise human life. So often for the most self absorbed and short sighted of reasons. If we were to survive as a species, future generations would surely be incredulous.

      For reasons as ridiculous as cultural demands, appetite preferences, ignorance and a mind blowing capacity to ignore the repercussions of our actions, we continue to decimate life.

      Could we as a species be any more stupid or arrogant. We have the terrifying combination of the destructive capacity of a meteor strike, the head burying ability of the finest ostrich, the attention span of a gnat along with the intelligence of a garden pea.

      We continue to wipe out millions and millions of years of evolution of countless species. Yet we are surrounded by creatures and a knowledge of human traditional cultures that show us how it is possible to live in harmony with nature on this planet that we think is ours.

      We could so easily apply our intellect to the challenge of living in a way that embraces and cherishes the extraordinary diversity of all of the species that exist. That recognises that anyone, can kill any living thing, in anyway for any reason, no matter how stupid. But who of us can see that allowing life to flourish is the real wisdom. Why on earth, with these ‘Blessed Big Brains’ don’t we see the wisdom in preserving life for our future generations. We have the power to leave behind an era of human history that makes the dark ages look like the enlightenment.

  2. Sharks get a bad rap in popular culture as stupid, mindless eating machines that go for humans because they’ll eat anything. In fact, most sharks are perfectly harmless, and only the bull sharks and white tip reef sharks have been known to go for humans deliberately (instead of, say, mistaking them for other animals). There’s even some indication that sharks can be playful and intelligent: for instance, the white shark and the porbeagle. You could learn a surprising amount about shark behaviour, such as their ability to hunt cooperatively.

    In reply to #4 by Martin_C:

    If you care about whether sharks will continue to inhabit our planet then you should write to the Australian government NOW. West Australia has decided to ignore laws against hunting endangered great whites and is organizing systematic culling. It’s despicable, especially in this century. Shame on y…

    The reasoning behind the proposal is specious. Some sharks have attacked people and killed them, but that doesn’t mean killing every and any shark you come across will solve the problem. Sharks aren’t clones of each other any more than humans are, so for every shark that might have attacked a human, many more that haven’t will be killed as “collateral damage”. They’re not even the biggest risks in Australia at the moment: just look at the death rate statistics and compare that with the “seven deaths in three years” shark killings (i.e. about two or three people a year). Even on simple economic grounds with no interest in shark and ecological welfare, the cull is a waste of resources that could have been spent on more relevant human concerns like healthcare and public awareness campaigns on how to stay safe at the beach.

    • In reply to #5 by Zeuglodon:

      only the bull sharks and white tip reef sharks have been known to go for humans deliberately

      Actually, I might even be wrong about that, at least when it comes to bull sharks. There’s a video here from a BBC programme about shark intelligence captured via Roboshark camera, in which two shark experts called Gary Atkinson and Erich Ritter demonstrate how to safely approach a shoal of bull sharks, whilst simultaneously feeding them and swimming with them. According to the narrator (guess who he is, by the way), they’ve been doing this for over ten years. So far, I’ve found information on only two attacks, one mentioned in the video and one reported here, both involving murky water. Scuba diving with Gary even inspired a marine artist to create shark paintings!

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