Lemon Shark in black and white

Sharks

Peaceful sharks

IUCN update finds sharks increasingly threatened

The Lost Shark, Carcharhinus obsoletus, is already extinct, and others that are expected to follow soon include four species each of hammerhead and angel sharks, from the world’s most threatened shark families. In spite of all the press that shark conservation has received in the past two decades, no effective protection of sharks has been established, no sharks have been saved, and their decline into extinction is ever more apparent.

The Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) is the most commonly encountered reef shark in the Caribbean Sea.

Reef sharks prefer small meals

Researchers from James Cook University's ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies examined stomach contents of reef sharks and conducted chemical analyses of shark body tissue to find out what they had been eating.  

Somewhat surprisingly after pumping sharks' stomachs to identify the contents of the last meal, the most common thing to find was in fact, nothing. "These results suggest that reef sharks eat small meals infrequently and opportunistically," Lead author, Dr Ashley Frisch said.

Appeal to Shark Lovers!

The paper presents the reasons why large predators of great ecological importance cannot supply the rising demand for shark fins, which is driven by profits that rival the drug trade and involves the fisheries of nations around the globe. They have essentially run out of fish so are targeting sharks now that the shark fin trade has made them valuable.

Sharks at risk from quest to develop vaccine against corona virus

Development of a vaccine against Covid-19 could come at the expense of sharks, researchers warn; A key ingredient used in vaccines to enhance immune response and increase effectiveness, squalene — an oily substance found in plants and even human skin — is particularly concentrated in shark livers.

Salmon Sharks of Alaska

Salmon sharks lack a nictitating membrane, so their eyes can be seen following a subject, Port Fidalgo, Alaska, USA. Photo by Jennifer Idol.
Salmon sharks lack a nictitating membrane, so their eyes can be seen following a subject, Port Fidalgo, Alaska, USA. Photo by Jennifer Idol.

Sharks elicit strong emotions, be it the thrill of a planned encounter underwater or fear propelled by social media and lack of information. Of the more than 400 species of sharks, it is the small family of mackerel sharks that is most iconic. These sharks prompted me to share why one of them, the salmon shark, is an especially remarkable species.

Whale Shark
Whale Shark

Whale sharks live an incredibly long time

Many divers dream of the day they find themselves swimming beside a whale shark. Its gentle demeanour and huge size presents a unique humbling experience that is second to none.

Yet, there is much we still do not know about whale sharks.

Today, one of their hidden mysteries have been unlocked–their age.

Until recently, it was hard to fix a number to their age, as they do not have bony structures (otoliths) which are traditionally used to calculate the age of fish.

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Groundbreaking Lawsuit Pushes Mexico to Protect Hammerhead Sharks

Fri, 20/03/2020 - 10:40

 

The legal action is likely the first-ever lawsuit aimed at forcing wildlife protections under NOM-059, Mexico’s equivalent of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The suit, filed in district court in La Paz, notes that Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) ignored scientific evidence demonstrating that hammerheads urgently need protection, as is already recognized internationally.

Mexico Exported 300,000 Pounds of Hammerhead Shark Fins in Three Years

The Bahamas' Tiger Beach

A pregnant tiger shark is redirected by the feeder, while two more tiger sharks swim in the background, Tiger Beach, Bahamas. Photo by Matthew Meier.

Standing on the swim step, trying to time my entry with a gap in the dozen or more lemon sharks circling directly below me was a bit daunting the first go around. Of course, the sharks knew this routine well and skillfully avoided my clumsy splash into the water. The reward waiting beneath the surface was an assemblage of sharks that cannot be collectively encountered anywhere else in the world.