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Will 300+ Species of Sharks Go Extinct?
‘Endangered’ is a term we hear often on nature documentaries or in the news. Even if you don't understand the details about how a population is assessed, you are probably aware that there is a very serious situation when scientists consider a species to be endangered. In the past few months, extremely alarming headlines have made the news regarding how many species of sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras (collectively known as ‘chondrichthyans’) are considered to be endangered. A report by The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has shown that more than 300 species of chondrichthyans should be re-classified as endangered. Scientists now say that the chondrichthyans are at substantially higher risk of extinction compared to other groups of animals, like mammals or birds. But what does this mean for sharks? And is there any hope? Will we lose all of these wonderful species forever or can we turn it around?
Keep the Noise Down!
In recent years scientists have become increasingly concerned that the impact that human beings have on the natural world might be more extensive and insidious than previously thought. We have seen how litter, plastic pollution and oil spills can have rapid impacts on marine life, and we are starting to understand that climate change could seriously affect our oceans in the long-term… but there is also another form of disturbance that scientists are becoming aware of; “noise pollution”.
Endangered Sharks on the Menu
The “elasmobranchs” (sharks, skates, and rays) are amongst the most threatened group of vertebrates globally, with declines of 70% on average across all species. Habitat loss and degradation, climate change, and mortality from beach nets are all implicated in the depletion of sharks, but over-fishing is the main driver of population declines world-wide. Sharks are extracted for their oils, jaws, and teeth, but predominantly for their fins and meat, which are sold for human consumption...
Fantastic Breaches and Where to Find Them
The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is arguably one of the more bizarre-looking amongst the commonly recognised shark species. Their enormous size (up to 12m) and huge gaping mouth (reaching almost 1m across) may make these sharks appear intimidating, but in fact, they are completely harmless to humans.
Seafood Fraud in Indonesia
Indonesia has a thriving fishing industry. This is not surprising given that the country is made up of more than 17,000 islands with a coastline over 54,000 km long! Many Indonesian people rely upon seafood as their major source of protein, and fishing and/or selling fish products at markets provides jobs for thousands of Indonesians...
Mako It Happen!
The shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) is a shark of many amazing factoids. It is the worlds fastest shark, clocking in at 60 miles per hour! It jumps higher than any other shark, breaching up to 9 metres out of the water! It has the largest brain to body mass ratio of any shark species, giving them remarkable cognitive skills and incredible sensory capabilities...
The Fin-tastic Galapagos Marine Reserve
Imagine you are standing on a pristine beach… Glistening white sand slides into turquoise ocean, with gently lapping waves. Seal lions loll on the sand, marine iguanas bask on the rocks, and frigate birds and boobies soar on thermals above. A UNESCO world-heritage site of extraordinary natural beauty and remarkable biodiversity, protected as a marine reserve by the Organic Law of Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Galapagos (LOREG), 50,000 square miles of pristine waters surround an archipelago of volcanic islands. You are in the Galápagos Marine Reserve, off the coast of Ecuador...
♫♪ Baby Shark Doo-Do-Do ♫
Great white sharks are one of the most easily recognised shark species in the world, for the most part because their impressive size makes them pretty unmistakable! Great whites are known to reach at least 6 m in length (from the snout to tip of the tail) and weigh as much as 2 tonnes...