endangered reef sharks


Two thirds of rays and reef sharks face extinction: study.

According to new research that was published on Tuesday, nearly two thirds of the sharks and rays that live among the corals in the world are in danger of extinction. The research also warns that this could further put precious reefs in danger.

An array of human threats, including overfishing, pollution, and climate change, pose grave threats to coral reefs, which are home to at least 25% of all marine animals and plants.

According to Samantha Sherman of Simon Fraser University in Canada and the wildlife organisation TRAFFIC International, these delicate ecosystems “cannot be filled by other species.” Shark and ray species range from apex predators to filter feeders.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications and looked at 134 species of sharks and rays that are connected to reefs, looked at extinction vulnerability data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and found that they are in grave danger worldwide.

According to the findings of the authors, the risk of shark and ray extinction is nearly double that of sharks and rays as a whole, with 59% of coral reef shark and ray species in danger of extinction.

Five shark species and nine ray species—all so-called “rhino rays” that resemble sharks more than stingrays—are listed as critically endangered.

Sherman told AFP, “It was a bit surprising just how high the threat level is for these species.”

“Many species that we thought of as common are declining at alarming rates and becoming more difficult to find in some places.”

Overfishing, according to Sherman, poses the most significant threat to these species.

The Western Atlantic and a portion of the Indian Ocean pose the greatest threat to sharks, while Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean pose the greatest threat to rays.

Sherman asserted that there is currently no management in place to lessen the species’ impact in these heavily fished regions.

A plan to protect dozens of shark and ray species was approved by countries at a summit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species last year. The plan added 21 coral reef species to the 18 already covered by the regulations.

Even though the regulations themselves do not prevent these species from being killed as “bycatch,” Sherman said that this was “a step in the right direction.” However, he added that a global effort was required to improve implementation.

She went on to say that the study showed that rays face more dangers on coral reefs, but that they are protected less.

“The solutions are similar for both sharks and rays — limits on fishing, well placed and properly implemented Marine Protected Areas, and alternative livelihood solutions to reduce the number of fishers on coral reefs,” Sherman said.

Over half a billion people rely on coral reef fisheries for their means of subsistence and food security; however, overexploitation and global warming pose a serious threat to the survival of this essential ecosystem.

As the world’s oceans get warmer, mass coral bleaching has been sparked by climate change caused by humans.

Modelling studies have demonstrated that 99 percent of the world’s coral reefs will not be able to recover even if the Paris climate goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is met.

The percentage reached 100% at a temperature increase of two degrees.

“We know coral reef health is declining, largely due to climate change, however, coral reef sharks and rays can help keep reefs healthier for longer,” said Sherman.

An international group of experts from universities, government agencies, regional oceanic and fishery organisations, and non-governmental organisations around the world carried out the study.


At Natural World Fund, we are passionate about stopping the decline in our wildlife.

The declines in our wildlife is shocking and frightening. Without much more support, many of the animals we know and love will continue in their declines towards extinction.

When you help to restore a patch of degraded land through rewilding to forests, meadows, or wetlands, you have a massive impact on the biodiversity at a local level. You give animals a home and food that they otherwise would not have had, and it has a positive snowball effect for the food chain.

We are convinced that this is much better for the UK than growing lots of fast-growing coniferous trees, solely to remove carbon, that don’t actually help our animals to thrive.

This is why we stand for restoring nature in the UK through responsible rewilding. For us, it is the right thing to do. Let’s do what’s right for nature!

Support our work today at https://naturalworldfund.com/ and join in the solution!


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