Sharks facing extinction risk: Study

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Washington, Feb 18 : Sharks might soon be seen in the fficial list of animals at global risk of extinction, for a new esearch has shown that they are disappearing from the world's ceans.

The study has shown that many large shark species have declined y more than 50 percent due to increased demand for shark fins nd meat, recreational shark fisheries, as well as tuna and wordfish fisheries, where millions of sharks are taken as ycatch each year.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) assessed the global status of he sharks.

"As a result of high and mostly unrestricted fishing pressure, any sharks are now considered to be at risk of extinction," said ulia Baum, an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps Institution f Oceanography and a member of the IUCN's Shark Specialist roup.

"Of particular concern is the scalloped hammerhead shark, an conic coastal species, which will be listed on the 2008 IUCN Red ist as globally 'endangered' due to overfishing and high demand or its valuable fins in the shark fin trade," Baum added.

She further said that fishing for sharks in international waters s unrestricted, and she supports a recently adopted UN esolution calling for immediate shark catch limits as well as a eaningful ban on shark finning. The research conducted by Baum and the late Ransom Myers at alhousie University over the past five years, demonstrated the agnitude of shark declines in the northwest Atlantic Ocean.

All species the researchers looked at had declined by over 50 per ent since the early 1970s.

For many large coastal shark species, the declines were much reater: tiger, scalloped hammerhead, bull and dusky shark opulations have all plummeted by more than 95 per cent.

Baum will speak at the American Association for the Advancement f Science (AAAS) Annual Conference in Boston, which runs from eb 14 to 18.

She will highlight management measures required to conserve harks at an afternoon press conference on February 17.

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