Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fewer Sharks to See in the Sea

A major conservation survey reveals startling results: a third of the world’s sharks face extinction. Sharks including great whites and hammerheads, that are hunted on the high seas are particularly at risk and are endangered due in part to overfishing. Over 100 million sharks are caught in commercial and sport fishing every year, which has caused a decline in several species including the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, great white, and basking sharks. The report showed that multiple types of sharks have declined by more that 80 percent in the past decade.

Since sharks have relatively few young and are slow to mature, it is difficult for the populations to keep up. There are currently no restrictions or laws on the number of sharks that can be caught by fisheries in the high seas, which leaves them practically unprotected. We must place better guidelines on these sleek creatures before they are erased from the waters forever. The extinction of sharks would be detrimental because they play an important role in the ocean food chain and help balance the ecosystem. This is important to the survival of all organisms because they all depend on each other to maintain the balance. Species that sharks feed on will begin to overpopulate, which will in turn decrease the population of other species. This will ultimately send the ecosystem into a tailspin of destruction.

In celebration of Shark Week, July 26-31, our blog will focus on issues related to sharks. Shark Week, a product of The Discovery Channel first aired in 1987. It is a week-long series of feature television programs dedicated solely to facts and information about sharks.

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