According to a new study, the shark population has decreased by an incredible 71% in the last 5 decades. Some shark species are classified as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species, others as critically endangered. How much time do they have left?
Huge Decline of Sharks
The study, led by researcher Dr. Richard Sherley of the University of Exeter shows that shark numbers have fallen by 71% since the 1970s. The number of wild stingrays has also decreased significantly.
Dr. Sherley claims that the main cause of the decline in sharks and stingrays is overfishing. According to Professor Nicholas Dulvy, overfishing of ocean sharks and other fish threatens the health of entire ocean ecosystems. Industrial fishing also reduces the food security of the world’s poorest countries – some of which are largely dependent on fishing.
Sharks on the Endangered Species Red List
The study mapped the occurrence of 31 species of sharks and stingrays in the open oceans. 24 of them are already classified as vulnerable. According to the IUCN Red List, these are species that are at high risk of extinction in the medium term if conditions do not change.
The other three species – the basking shark, the bronze hammerhead, and the great hammerhead are considered critically endangered – are at high risk of extinction soon.
In half a century, almost three-quarters of sharks and stingrays have been lost in the open oceans. However, according to scientists, there is still a simple and effective solution to stop the loss of sharks and stingrays. It is the global protection and restriction of fishing.