sharks tagged posts

Great whites are peacefully coexisting with Californians. Why?

Standing on a balcony lit by San Diego sun, wildlife videographer Scott Fairchild thumbs the throttle of his drone controller. As the drone flies over breaking waves, he sees what he normally sees: some surfers, a swimmer, and a great white shark.

As the lone swimmer drifts away from others in the water, he seems to pique the shark’s interest. It changes course and starts to follow. A hundred yards from shore, this is the exact location of a 2008 fatality caused by a white shark, where a swimmer was “bit in half,” Fairchild tells me later, training for a triathlon.

The shark sinks into murky water, then resurfaces. It veers off to the side, then returns. The swimmer’s arms take turns splashing the water around him, and the shark speeds up, closing the gap between them.


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Sharks get new trade protections

Sharks have received what conservationists say are vital new trade protections. Several shark species were added to a list of species whose trade is restricted to prevent them being “traded to extinction”. The decision was made on Friday at a global summit in Panama. The meeting takes place against the backdrop of an ongoing global extinction crisis.

Other animals given additional protections in the international wildlife trade treaty, known as CITES, include dozens of freshwater turtles and frogs.

“Over a million species are at risk of extinction if we do not change the way we treat wildlife,” said Matthew Collis, deputy vice president for conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“Governments at CITES have shown they are beginning to grasp the scale of the cha...

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Dead shark in Cornwall had meningitis in ‘world’s first’ case

A rare Greenland shark found washed up on a Cornish beach died of meningitis, a post mortem has found. Scientists who examined the body said the discovery was “likely a world’s first”. The female found just outside Newlyn Harbour in Cornwall in March is thought to be 100 years old by marine biologists. But it is still considered a “juvenile” because Greenland sharks can live to more than 400 years old.

Scientists said there was not enough evidence to link the disease to man-made stressors, such as pollution.

The autopsy by the Cornwall Marine Pathology Team, is thought to be the first of its kind undertaken in the UK.

Veterinary pathologist James Barnett, of the Cornwall Marine Pathology Team, said the brain was “discoloured and congested”, while the fluid around the brain was cl...

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Scientists bring to life 97 baby sharks through artificial insemination

Sharks are as fascinating as they are endangered, and scientists have been sounding the alarm on the rate at which shark populations are declining. Sixteen out of 31 oceanic shark species are now critically endangered or endangered, a study published in the journal Nature found earlier this year. The number of oceanic sharks and rays in the world has declined by 71% from 1970 to 2018, the researchers observed.

Now, scientists have been able to use artificial insemination to bring 97 baby sharks to life, a new study published in Scientific Reports revealed, in what a release describes as the “largest-ever effort to artificially inseminate sharks.”

Artificial insemination of sharks could foster healthier populations in aquariums by encouraging genetic diversity, removing the need to t...

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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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Extinction: ‘Time is running out’ to save sharks and rays

Grey Reef Shark

Scientists say sharks and rays are disappearing from the world’s oceans at an “alarming” rate. The number of sharks found in the open oceans has plunged by 71% over half a century, mainly due to over-fishing, according to a new study. Three-quarters of the species studied are now threated with extinction.

And the researchers say immediate action is needed to secure a brighter future for these “extraordinary, irreplaceable animals”.

They are calling on governments to implement science-based fishing limits.

Study researcher, Dr Richard Sherley of the University of Exeter, said the declines appear to be driven very much by fishing pressures. 

He told BBC News: “That’s the driver for the 70% reduction in the last 50 years...

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Southern Africa’s most endangered shark just extended its range by 2,000 kilometers

A team of marine scientists led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has confirmed that southern Africa’s most threatened endemic shark – the Critically Endangered shorttail nurse shark (Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum) – has been found to occur in Mozambique; a finding that represents a range extension of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles).

Publishing their findings in the journal Marine Biodiversity, the team said that the discovery was based on several records of the shark including underwater video surveys collected in 2019, recent photos of shore-based sport anglers’ catches, and the identification of a specimen collected in 1967.

The diminutive shorttail nurse shark reaches lengths of approximately 75 centimeters (30 inches)...

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Baby sharks emerge earlier and weaker in oceans warmed by climate crisis

Baby sharks will emerge from their egg cases earlier and weaker as water temperatures rise, according to a new study that examined the impact of warming oceans on embryos. About 40% of all shark species lay eggs, and the researchers found that one species unique to the Great Barrier Reef spent up to 25 days less in their egg cases under temperatures expected by the end of the century.

The extra heat caused embryonic epaulette sharks to eat through their egg yolks faster and when they were born, the rising temperatures affected their fitness.

“This is a huge red flag for us,” said Dr Jodie Rummer, an associate professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and a co-author on the study.

Weaker sharks were less efficient hunters, Rum...

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Call for evidence on protecting endangered shark species launches

Greater protections for species of sharks will be considered through a new call for evidence to better understand the scale of the shark fin trade in the UK, as a way to help reduce the import and export of shark fins and protect the world’s sharks.

The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation and has been pressing for stronger international action to protect sharks against unsustainable fishing practices and shark finning, which is the practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and discarding the finless body back into the water.

The government is now seeking additional evidence to ensure that appropriate protection is in place for all shark species and to inform future policy on protecting marine wildlife.

The call for evidence will help the government better und...

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Is Australia really seeing more shark attacks?

The alert about the latest shark attack came last Friday: a surfer was missing; his board dragged from the waves bearing bite marks. Western Australian authorities have since called off the search for Andrew Sharpe, 52, confirming he was mauled by a shark.

Friends who witnessed the attack said he had been knocked off his board and pulled underwater. Police divers later found scraps of his wetsuit.

His death in Wylie Bay, a popular surf spot, marks the seventh fatal shark attack in Australian waters this year, causing alarm among beach-going communities.

Not since 1929 – when there were nine fatalities – have there been so many.

So is there something in the water, or is 2020 an anomaly? 

What do the numbers show?

Looking at the total number of shark attacks reported – fat...

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