Sharks and rays fear for their lives in Mediterranean

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London, Nov 16 (UNI) The waters of Mediterranean have become the most perilous place for sharks and rays due to intensive fishing and decline of habitats, a report has warned.

According to the report presented by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the shark is under more threat in Mediterranean than in any other waters, where it has a lesser global conservation rating of ''vulnerable''.

''Our analyses reveal the Mediterranean Sea as one of the world's most dangerous places for sharks and rays. Bottom dwelling species appear to be at greatest risk in this region, due mainly to intense fishing of the seabed,'' Claudine Gibson, one of the report's authors, was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

The report also warned that 30 of the sea's 71 cartilaginous species in the Mediterranean sea are vulnerable to extinction.

Also the species have a tendency to grow slowly, mature late and produce few young, meaning that these predators - vital to marine food webs and ecosystems - are in serious decline.

The report suggested that better enforcement of existing bans on deepwater fishing, drift nets and slicing off sharks' valuable fins might save them from extinction.

But internationally agreed catch limits for those species that are fished, rather than caught accidentally, are also needed.

At present there are no catch limits for fished sharks and rays in the Mediterranean. Eight species are listed on international conventions relating to Mediterranean wildlife but only three have received any protection as a result.

UNI

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