A critical report has been released by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and sadly… it’s not good news. The report has stated that our beloved and totally awesome sharks and rays are now some of the most threatened animals on the planet! This is BAD news people.
It seems that some of the weirdest and most wonderful sharks and rays are also the ones most under threat. Shallow water species have taken a real hammering from overfishing and it’s going to take some serious work to get them back on track. But why do sharks and rays suffer so badly? I mean, plenty of fish in the sea, right?
Well, here’s the issue. Many species of sharks and rays reproduce very slowly and they take a long time to reach maturity – just like us! Even when they do reproduce, there is no guarantee that their offspring will survive the long journey to adulthood themselves. One day’s worth of unsustainable fishing could potentially take years to repair.
Sharks and rays that give birth to live young can be so difficult to protect. The mother could hold the babies inside her for many months. While she is pregnant, she is still susceptible to fishing. We know so little about some species that we don’t even know where they go to give birth to their pups! If we did, the Shark Trust could work their gills off to get those areas protected and then the slow rebuilding of the population could begin.
|Eggcase © sghaywood photography|
|Sawfish © The Deep|
|Thresher Shark © Matt Newell|
So there we go sharky peeps! Some quick, but vital, knowledge to get you up to date with the current situation! As well as some awesome facts about some of our best, weirdest sharks! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to keep flying the flag for sharks, skates and rays! Get people you know talking about shark numbers and conservation. Oh, and don’t forget to put your best eggcase eyes on when you’re down the beach. The hunt for those mermaid purses continues and every one identified and reported is another step towards a shark-filled future.
➤ Find out more about sharks at the Pups Activity Zone
➤ Visit the Shark Trust website
➤ Visit the Blowfish website