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Most Coral Reef Sharks And Rays May Be At Risk Of Extinction

Bull sharks are one of the eight shark species that live in the marine protected area off the coast of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu

Nearly two-thirds of coral reef shark and ray species worldwide are threatened with extinction, reports a new study in Nature Communications. This build on a study in 2020 that found that reef sharks across the globe are in decline, missing from 19% of the world’s coral reefs. At the time, this was the greatest decline of reef sharks ever recorded, but these recent results suggest that the extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays, as a percentage of threatened species, is almost double that of all 1,199 known shark and ray species.

“The findings highlight the need for immediate conservation action for these species through local protections, fisheries management and enforcement, and Marine Protected Areas,” stress the authors of the new study.

Coral reef ecosystems ar...

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Sawfish facing global extinction

They are the most extraordinary of fish, resembling “hedge trimmers with fins”. The sawfish, which is a kind of ray, is also among the most endangered of the fish living in the oceans. Once found along the coastlines of 90 countries, the animals are now presumed extinct in more than half of these, according to a new study. 

They are vanishing due to habitat loss and entanglement in fishing nets, experts have said.

Their “saws”, which evolved to sense and attack prey, have now become a liability, making them prone to being caught up in fishing gear.

“Through the plight of sawfish, we are documenting the first cases of a wide-ranging marine fish being driven to local extinction by overfishing,” said Prof Nick Dulvy of Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia, Canada.


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