Monday, October 3, 2011

Why are sharks in big trouble these days?

Sharks are among the world's most famous animals and are certainly the sea’s most feared creatures. However, by the current looks of it sharks should be the ones feeling fear because they are obviously in big trouble as there is an ongoing decline of shark populations worldwide.

Sharks play extremely important role in marine food chain as the top predators. This means that if their population continues to shrink the entire balance of the marine food chain will be put under great jeopardy and with sharks gone many marine ecosystems will become irreversibly altered because sharks maintain the balance and health of our seas and oceans.

The overfishing of sharks is the main reason behind their rapid decline in population. The more and more shark species are being added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's list of threatened species with some of them being at the very brink of the extinction. The additional problem is that sharks reproduce very slowly so even relatively small amounts of fishing can have big negative effect on local populations.

The recent estimates say that fishing kills around 100 million sharks every year mostly because sharks are common seafood in many places around the globe. The world still hasn't established some international organization to monitor and manage shark fisheries so we still don't know reliable records of global shark catches.

The majority of researchers believe that sharks could still be saved with the adequate protection by for instance establishing more marine protected areas and with more marine ecotourism.