Sharks facing extinction risk: StudyFebruary 18th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Feb 18 (ANI): Sharks might soon be seen in the official list of animals at global risk of extinction, for a new research has shown that they are disappearing from the worlds oceans.
The study has shown that many large shark species have declined by more than 50 percent due to increased demand for shark fins and meat, recreational shark fisheries, as well as tuna and swordfish fisheries, where millions of sharks are taken as bycatch each year.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) assessed the global status of the sharks.
As a result of high and mostly unrestricted fishing pressure, many sharks are now considered to be at risk of extinction, said Julia Baum, an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a member of the IUCNs Shark Specialist Group.
Of particular concern is the scalloped hammerhead shark, an iconic coastal species, which will be listed on the 2008 IUCN Red List as globally endangered due to overfishing and high demand for its valuable fins in the shark fin trade, Baum added.
She further said that fishing for sharks in international waters is unrestricted, and she supports a recently adopted UN resolution calling for immediate shark catch limits as well as a meaningful ban on shark finning.
The research conducted by Baum and the late Ransom Myers at Dalhousie University over the past five years, demonstrated the magnitude of shark declines in the northwest Atlantic Ocean.
All species the researchers looked at had declined by over 50 per cent since the early 1970s.
For many large coastal shark species, the declines were much greater: tiger, scalloped hammerhead, bull and dusky shark populations have all plummeted by more than 95 per cent.
Baum will speak at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Conference in Boston, which runs from Feb 14 to 18.
She will highlight management measures required to conserve sharks at an afternoon press conference on February 17. (ANI)
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