Scientists Urge Ban on Catching Atlantic Sharks

Publication: Reuters

Author: Deborah Zabarenko

10/28/2008 - An international team of scientists wants to ban the catching of eight species of Atlantic Ocean sharks and put a strict limit on the catch of two others to try to prevent population crashes.

Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they reproduce and grow slowly, but there are currently no international limits on shark catch, according to the non-profit Lenfest Ocean Program, which convened a meeting of shark experts to study the problem.


Many of the world's open ocean shark species are declining, in part because they get caught in long fishing lines meant to catch tuna and swordfish, the scientists said.

As the number of traditional target fish like tuna and swordfish declines, demand for shark meat and shark fins increases, said Charlotte Hudson of the Lenfest program.


"There are lots of fish in the ocean, but sharks are special because their biology allows them not to have as many babies a year, so that they reproduce much more slowly," Hudson said. "Therefore, when you kill adults, you really reduce the population much faster, because you're reducing the ability of the population to sustain itself."


Read the full article Scientists Urge Ban on Catching Atlantic Sharks on the Reuters Web site.

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