sharks tagged posts

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.

O...

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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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WWF urges Med countries to save sharks

Grey reef shark patrolling reef

To mark Shark Awareness Day, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has urged all Mediterranean countries to urgently act to improve the information and awareness for fishermen, boost controls and ensure an adequate system to report the capture of sharks and rays.

The organization wrote in a statement that sharks and rays are fundamental indicators of the state of health of the oceans and their beneficial impact on the welfare of the seas is wide-ranging.

In many areas of the world, they also represent an important economic resource for tourism. The WWF will promote on its social media accounts a special marathon to inform on the importance of sharks for the marine ecosystem, dispelling myths about the threat posed by this species and suggesting behavior to promote its preservation.

The public will...

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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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