Friday, June 10, 2011

Excellent Info for Shark Conservationists!

Heartbreaking - click for detail!

  • Commercial fisheries targeting sharks exist throughout the world. Sharks are sought primarily for their fins (for shark fin soup) and their meat but also for their cartilage,liver and skin.

  • 73 million sharks are killed every year, according to a 2000 analysis of the Hong Kong shark fin trade. Many scientists estimate that at least 100 million sharks are killed annually, including sharks caught for other products, such as meat.

  • Shark populations have declined by as much as 70 to 80 percent, according to global reports. Some populations, such as the porbeagle shark in the northwestern Atlantic and spiny dogfish in the northeastern Atlantic, have been reduced by up to 90 percent.

  • Thirty percent of all shark and ray species are now Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction, and accurate scientific assessments cannot be done on an additional 47percent of the species because of a lack of data.

  • The highest numbers of reported shark landings are from: Indonesia; India; Taiwan, Province of China; Spain; and Mexico.

  • The catching of sharks in fisheries that target other species (bycatch)is frequently reported in open-sea longline fisheries targeting tuna and swordfish and can represent asmuch as 25 percent of the total catch. This bycatch is considered to be a major source of mortality for many shark species worldwide.

  • Blue sharks make up a particularly large proportion of shark bycatch in open-sea fisheries (47 to92 percent).

  • The value of shark fins has increased with economic growth in Asia (particularly China), and this increased value is a major factor in the commercial exploitation of sharks worldwide. One bowl of shark fin soup can cost US$100.

  • Sharks play an important role in maintaining the structure and function of the ecosystem. They regulate the variety and abundance of the species below them in the food chain. Impacts from the loss of sharks can be felt throughout the entire marine environment.

  • Live sharks have a significant value for marine ecotourism (such as recreational diving, snorkelling, and shark watching) that is more sustainable and often far more valuable than their worth to fisheries. Whale shark tourism, for example, is estimated to be worth $47.5 million annually worldwide, and shark tourism activities in the Bahamas generate $78 million annually for the Bahamian economy.

  • To reverse declines in shark populations, shark sanctuaries should be established, and strong, science-based management should be put in place by all fishing countries and international bodies that regulate shark fishing and trade
Once again, I must commend the Pew.
They have just published Sharks in Trouble: Hunters Become the Hunted and I must say, this is now the Bible for Shark conservationists.
Required reading!

Kudos also to Bush Warriors for this piece.
It's an excellent overview and contains very useful tips for anybody wanting to get active. But before you embark on your crusade: do your homework first!

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