Expert presents study on the conservation status of sharks in the Mediterranean

Dec 1, 2009

Expert presents study on the conservation status of sharks in the Mediterranean

Sarah Fowler will advance results of a study on the situation of the sharks in the Mediterranean, which has almost half of the species most threatened in the world.

Sharks are one of the zoological groups whose diversity and population have most decreased and which has some of the most serious implications for the proper balance of ecosystems. The “Oceanogràfic Tuesdays” conference cycle programme continuous today with the conference ‘Ecology and conservation. Role of sharks in marine ecosystems’.

The expert notices of their highly vulnerability and risk of extinction due to the overfishing whom they are submitted and for their condition of long-lived animals, of slow growth and low fecundity.

The IUCN Shark Specialist Group has spent over ten years assessing the conservation status all of the 1040 species of shark, skate, ray and chimaera that had been described by scientists before 2008.

This report presents the first comprehensive regional IUCN Red List of chondrichthyan fishes of the Mediterranean Sea. With 30 out of 71 species considered threatened, the
Mediterranean region has some of the most threatened chondrichthyan populations in the world. Currently, just eight species (six sharks and two rays) are granted some form of protection under international or regional agreements.

Bycatch is considered the biggest threat to chondrichthyan fishes in the Mediterranean, potentially affecting all species present. Also, Habitat loss, habitat degradation, human disturbance and recreational fisheries all pose a threat to a number of chondrichthyans in the Mediterranean.