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Why Sharks Are Declining Worldwide

As a sad addendum, in fact there are barely any reefs where even mesopredator release can take place, for these mesopredators are popular targets, too. Even on remote reefs, such large fish are prime targets for East Asian restaurants taken alive so that diners chose them fresh from the aquarium, at sometimes phenomenal prices.

In reality, we barely have a natural reef left to study. We have a plethora of stories about how things can go wrong, and just a handful of hopeful places where we can catch a glimpse of how things once were.

Ecology is complex, and the solutions are too. Of course, strict protection of sharks and mesopredators might be part of the solution, and no-take reserves can be really valuable; but lots of this fishing is already illegal. Punitive measures on fishers might also have a place, but not on the desperately poor fishers for whom the cash incentive will still perhaps be worth the risk. There is a market driving phenomenal prices and illegal activities, and cracking that requires education of a broader public, buyers, sellers and politicians who can change trading regulations. We have the solutions and efforts are underway on multiple fronts but not enough, not yet.

(Image: Blacktip shark at Palmyra Atoll. Image credit: Laura M. Beauregard USFWS/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)

Mark Spalding is a marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy. Read more of his blog posts here.

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By Mark Spalding, The Nature Conservancy

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9:59AM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Chinese are the ones to blame!!! For stupid medicinal stuff, shame!!!

4:10PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

everyone needs to boycott the entire seafood industry. it's not seafood. it's sea life.

10:41AM PST on Dec 10, 2012

........humans undoubtedly.

2:18PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

great article, thanks for sharing

2:36AM PST on Dec 8, 2012

well written thanks

3:42AM PST on Nov 29, 2012


6:19AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Face it man kind is killing our our Sea Animals , Land Animal , and our Bee's .... How can we change the world ! I wish I knew , I am glad I can make a little difference in what I do at least it give me some peace .

3:38AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

thanks for sharing.

12:47AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

We have a HUGE resposibility

7:32AM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Live and help live!! Don't destroy!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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