A recent study reveals that over 21 species of rays and oceanic pelagic sharks are under serious threat of extinction. One of the main reasons for this is overfishing. It is highly recommended that governments take appropriate steps in order to safeguard these aquatic life.
An international study was conducted by SSG or the Shark Specialist Group. Nearly 15 scientists from various research institutes around the world contributed to this study.
It was found that due to fishing that was targeted mainly for the purpose of meat, as well as for the valuable fins of the sharks, around 21 oceanic shark and rays are caught in the high seas. This large number means an increased threat of extinction to these species. There is an increase in demand for the delectable, shark fin soup. And this is mainly in the Asian continent. Thus sharks are caught mainly for their fins and then the carcasses are discarded. Mostly, the fishing of these sharks and rays are not regulated and unsustainable. In fact, the discarded sharks are not even recorded.
Another reason why these sharks and rays are under threat due to overfishing, is that these species, take considerable amount of time to become sexually active, and thus have relatively few offspring.
At the local, national and international level, officials and fishery managers both have the opportunity to put an end to this overfishing and prevent them from exploiting these species, which would then mean, controlling the extinction of these species of rays and sharks.
The alarming rate of biodiversity loss is so high, and as we keep on making use of the ocean’s resources, it’s possible that in the future, many more species of the ocean will come under threat. However, controlling this threat is possible, with sufficient public awareness and support.
Some possible measures that governments can take, as suggested by the research team are:
Many people are under the misconception that rays and sharks are powerful and fast, and thus show considerable resistance to fishing. However this is not true. There are no international catch limits in place for oceanic sharks, despite the fact that these species are under threat of extinction.
There is a desperate need for global action to this global problem.