Sharks in Trouble: Hunters Become the Hunted

Jun 06, 2011

This year has seen major shark conservation actions taken around the world. The U.S. Shark Conservation Act was signed into law in January, and shark finning prohibitions in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands were enacted in February and March. The Marshall Islands established a moratorium on shark fishing, and Chile is poised to enact a ban on shark finning in June.

More action is needed by many more countries, however. A new report by the Pew Environment Group, "Sharks in Trouble: Hunters Become the Hunted," (PDF) illustrates how these animals are threatened by commercial fisheries throughout the world's oceans.

The new publication points out that, according to global reports, shark populations have declined by as much as 70 to 80 percent. Scientists estimate that 30 percent of all shark species are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. For an additional 47 percent of shark species, scientists lack enough data to make an accurate assessment. In addition, they grow slowly, mature late and produce few young over their long lifetimes, leaving them exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation and slow to recover from depletion.

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