Third Of Open Water Sharks Face Extinction: Study
One third of the world’s open water sharks are in danger of extinction, according to a major conservation study of 64 species of sharks. Those sharks facing the greatest risk are those hunted directly for meat and fins as well as those caught as “bycatch” by tuna and swordfish operations.
A survey of 64 species of open water (pelagic) sharks shows that shark populations in at least two coastal marine ecosystems have been severely disrupted, and more could follow. Major factors in the population decline include the loss of sharks as “by-catch” in commercial tuna and swordfish operations, and also due to Asian demand for shark fins, which has soared over the recent decade.
The loss of sharks from world oceans could have an enormous impact. Recent studies show that sharp reductions could lead to major disruptions throughout the food chain. The great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, and giant devil ray are endangered. The smooth hammerhead, great white, basking, oceanic whitetip, two species of makos, and three types of thresher sharks are potential candidates for extinction.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), 100 million sharks are caught in commercial and sport fishing each year, and several species have had their populations decline by more than 80% in the last decade.