Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Caption: Many shark populations, including black tips, have plummeted in recent decades as a result of excessive harvesting -- for their fins, as bycatch, and in recreational fisheries. This is particularly true for oceanic species. In a study to be published online April 27 in Conservation Biology, an international team of marine scientists provide the first estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean. Using underwater surveys conducted across 46 US Pacific islands and atolls, as part of NOAA's extensive Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program, the team compared reef shark numbers at reefs spanning from heavily impacted ones, to those among the world's most pristine. The numbers are sobering. According to Marc Nadon, Lead Author and University of Miami Ph.D. candidate, "Our studies suggest that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90 percent compared to those at the most untouched reefs. In short, people and sharks don't mix."
Credit: Marc Nadon
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