Sharks: the species that few remember is in danger of extinction


The Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added to 17 species of sharks as endangered animals.

After evaluating 58 species of sharks and rays, the Shark Specialist Group (SSG) and Red List partner; determined that the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) it raises alarm.

This species it has decreased seriously on the planet and only in the Atlantic is its population decline estimated at 60% in the last 75 yearssaid to the agency EFE SSG Co-President Nicholas Dulvy.

According to the website of the Shark Conservation Fund (SCF), these fish appeared 400 million years ago.

The study carried out by the SSG is part of a global population trends assessment project involving 174 experts from 55 countries.

Although Australia is a leading country in shark conservation Due to fishing limitations, 9 species of the 17 classified are located in its waters.

Peter Kyne, a conservation biologist at Charles Darwin University and coordinator of the SSG, explained in a report to the media that the vast majority of threatened species in that country “inhabit deep waters and have the peculiarity of very slow growth and reproduction.”

This generates little resistance to fishing pressure because they are captured prior to increasing their population.

In addition to fishing, the late peak of sexual maturity, slow gestation periods and low fertility are causes that explain the threat of extinction for most sharks globally, according to the Conacyt Information Agency.

For his part, Mexico is the sixth country with the highest volume of shark catch in the world.

ANDThe group most threatened is the hammerhead shark that, despite being endangered by the IUCN with vulnerability 81, it was considered as a target species by the National Fishing Charter, at least until 2018; according to research by marine biologist Shasta Keyes Pulido.

The National Fishing Charter is the official document that “allows knowing where, when and how much fishing is allowed, without altering the ecological balance and the most appropriate way to extract species that can be harvested. It is produced by the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Through georeferencing and databases such as Fishbase, Global Shark Distribution Database and the IUCN Red List; Keyes Pulido determined in which areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea there are more threatened sharks.

Their results showed that the priority area to protect these fish is the Center of the Gulf of Mexico; it is followed by the western coasts of Yucatan and Campeche and, finally, Quintana Roo and some coasts of Veracruz; Information published by the then National Science and Technology Council in 2018.

The same report indicated that There are fewer threats to sharks in the waters of Tamaulipas, southern Veracruz, and southern Quintana Roo.

Global shark catches have tripled since 1950 and reached their highest level of all time in 2000, with 888 thousand tons; according to information reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The value of world trade in shark products is approximately USD 1 billion a year, according to the FAO.

Shark fishing is mainly for its meat, fins, skin, cartilage and liver.

For example, shark fin in soup is a delicacy in Chinese culture.

While in other “countries of Asia and Oceania, shark skin is consumed boiled and without the denticles. However, the greatest use of shark skin is to obtain leather.

“Shark cartilage is also used as food, but the largest market for this product is the pharmaceutical industry. Shark liver is primarily used to extract oils and other hydrocarbons”, FAO points out in its International Plan of Action for the conservation and management of shark populations.

For the Shark Conservation Fund, the main drivers of shark extinction danger worldwide “are unsustainable direct and indirect fishing, increased national and international demand for shark products, and poorly controlled trade.”

Hence, “the conservation and management of sharks and rays has not been able to keep up with these market drivers.”

Is about poorly managed fisheries “Connected through local and global markets in at least 126 countries,” he adds.

As a data from the unregulated trade in wildlife: 99% of the demand for manta gills and devil rays passes through the Guangzhou sales center in southern China, reports the SCF.

A measure that the Shark Conservation Fund recommends to prevent the extinction of sharks is the regulation and monitoring of these provisions.

In 2019, an additional 18 sharks and rays were listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the world’s largest wildlife conservation and trade convention.

Next May it is expected to include the shortfin mako on the CITES list, according to EFE.

Since sharks traded regularly were first listed in CITES Appendix II in 2013, global shark conservation action has increased significantly.

In the waters of the world there are about 1,250 species of sharks, rays and chimeras, which belong to the group of cartilaginous fish, according to the SCF.

Of these, more than 400 species are sharks, according to the FAO.