sharks tagged posts

Industrial fishing behind plummeting shark numbers

Hammerhead Shark

A team of researchers, led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), has discovered that sharks are much rarer in habitats nearer large human populations and fish markets. The team also found that the average body size of sharks and other marine predators fell dramatically in these areas, where sharks are caught and killed intensively for their meat and fins.

The study, published today in the journal PLOS Biology, shows that the average body size and number of sharks and other marine predators — vital to maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems — fell significantly in proximity to cities with more than 10,000 people and associated fishing fleets.

The minimum distance from people and fishing which had no measurable effect was 1,250 kilometres...

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How We Can Protect Our Wandering Sharks

Thresher Shark

Conservation of our natural world has never been so important; in fact, the environmental journalist John Vidal called biodiversity loss a “crisis even bigger than climate change.” Thirty-one percent of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

These declines led to an interest in their conservation and sustainable management and one of the ways scientists and conservationists are coming together to protect sharks and marine biodiversity is through marine protected areas. Known better by their acronym, MPA, they are like the national parks we have on land in that human activities are strictly regulated than the surrounding area (or in this case, waters).

These places are given special pr...

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Why global media must change negative agenda towards sharks

Grey Reef Shark

“It’s all psychological. You yell ‘barracuda!’, people are like ‘Huh?? What?? You yell, ‘shark’ and we got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.”

Those familiar with the film that introduced the world to the concept of a ‘summer blockbuster’ will know that these words are spoken by Larry Vaughn, Mayor of Amity Island, the fictional summer town setting for ‘Jaws’. More than 40 years after it terrified cinemagoers, Jaws remains a legendary piece of film storytelling. Based on Peter Benchley’s actually far more explicit book, its tale centres on a Police Chief’s two-handed battle: on land, against a town mayor with misguided principles, and off shore against a ‘killer shark.’

So why was ‘Jaws’ so successful in creating stampedes of filmgoers to their loca...

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Hand-Feeding Sharks Is a Terrible Idea

Shark encounter on back of boat

A woman who tried to hand-feed a shark is lucky she still has a hand. Yes, it bit her. IT’S A SHARK. Melissa Brunning of Perth, Australia, was on a holiday yacht cruise in Dugong Bay on Australia’s coast, when four tawny nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus) swam close to the back of the boat, Perth Now reported. Several of Brunning’s companions dropped fish in the water near the sharks, one of which measured almost 7 feet (2 meters) in length.

However, when it was Brunning’s turn, she tried to feed the shark directly by hand. As the shark snatched the food, its jaws closed on her finger, and it yanked her into the water — a terrifying moment that one of her friends captured on video, according to Perth Now.

In the footage, which was shared on Twitter by Australia’s 7 News Melbourne on Ju...

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Scientists take ride on the Pacific’s ‘Shark Highway’

Scientists have videotaped sharks traveling a 500-mile-long "shark highway" in the Pacific Ocean.

For the first time, scientists have videotaped sharks traveling a 500-mile-long “shark highway” in the Pacific, and they plan to turn it into a protected wildlife corridor in the ocean. Biologists have been attaching electronic tags to sharks near Costa Rica for years. They knew the sharks sometimes traveled south to the Galapagos Islands, but they’d never actually witnessed it. And they needed scientific — and visual — evidence to make their case for protecting the route.

To do that, they took some GoPro-style cameras and attached them to metal frames along with bloody fish bait. They’re called BRUVS, for “baited remote underwater video system.” The researchers dragged these contraptions behind a research vessel for almost two weeks.

And they waited, and waited, spending hours watchi...

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How we uncovered feeding habits of sharks, thanks to plankton ‘post codes’

white tip shark

Across the globe, sharks have been hit hard by fishing and habitat destruction, which has led to declines in many populations. Marine conservation efforts are increasingly focused on managing particular regions to prevent certain kinds of fishing, or to restore a certain habitat, within their boundaries – things like marine protected areas. So knowing how sharks move around the ocean and use different regions to eat, mate or give birth is particularly important.

In recent years, great advances have been made tracking animals (including sharks) with electronic tags, but it remains very expensive and relatively few animals have been tracked. Not only that, but knowing where a shark is doesn’t necessarily tell you why it is there.

We’re part of a team of 73 scientists from 21 countries wh...

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‘Archaic’ shark program to be abolished in Queensland

Great White Shark tagged and released

New data has revealed more than 500 sharks have been caught off Queensland as a result of a controversial shark control program. The majority of sharks were found dead and many others were euthanased over a 12-month period last year through the use of drumlines and nets.

Conservation groups say the Queensland Government program, which was established more than 50 years ago, needs to be abolished.

Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) senior marine campaigner Tooni Mahto called the practice “inhumane and archaic”.

“Under the Queensland control program there are 26 species of shark which are listed as being a threat to humans. That’s totally nonsensical,” she said.

In New South Wales, the State Government is trialling the use of “smart” drum lines, which alert authorities when an an...

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Trump’s death wish for sharks boosts donations

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump may be “terrified” of sharks — but, ironically, his wish that “all the sharks die” is inspiring people to give money to shark conservation groups, according to MarketWatch.

Several non-profits have recently received donations that specifically mention Trump as the reason for charity. And many are new donors, including several from outside of the US. For instance, one donation to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society came with the comment “Because Trump.” Another one said: “Contribution to save the Sharks after reading the article ‘Trump hopes sharks die,’” Zorianna Kit, media director for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, tells The Verge.

Trump’s alleged hatred for sharks was revealed last week, when In Touch Weekly released a full interview with...

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How Sharks Rule Coral Reefs Through Fear – and Why That Matters

Grey Reef Shark

A new study finds that the presence of sharks can change coral reef ecosystems. Such research is becoming more important as both a top ocean predator and a crucial habitat decline. To humans, sharks are mythic and beautiful and terrifying – they can both clear the beach and inspire passionate conservation campaigns. It’s surprising, then, that scientists don’t actually agree on the extent to which sharks influence and shape their own ecosystems.

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports wades into this issue and provides evidence that, just like humans, fish are afraid of sharks, and in some reef habitats, this fear actually changes the structure of coral communities...

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Fear of sharks influence seaweed growth on Fijian reefs

white tip shark

Fishes’ fear of sharks helps shape shallow reef habitats in the Pacific, according to new research by a scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.  The study is the first clear case of sharks altering a coral reef ecosystem through an indirect effect – creating an atmosphere of fear that shifts where herbivores feed and seaweeds grow. Referred to as a trophic cascade, these complex relationships exist throughout nature but the linkages are often hard to identify.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, looked at reefs located along the coast of Fiji. Many of its islands are surrounded by shallow, intertidal reefs that are commonly found in the Pacific...

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