June 11, 2021
Sharks have been one of the oldest species to live in the world. With fossil records dating back 400 million years ago, these majestic predators have proven their importance in maintaining balance in the marine ecosystem.
Over the years, more than 500 species of sharks have been discovered by humans. Unfortunately, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 30% of these species are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. With the changing environment and human threat, more and more sharks face the danger of extinction soon.
After millions of years of existence, scientists have reported a drastic drop in the sharks’ population in just the last generations. After about 400 million years, sharks are starting to disappear.
You might be wondering how these majestic creatures came to the verge of extinction? These creatures evolved to become predators, not preys. That being said, sharks take a long time to reach sexual maturity and reproduce. They produce very few offspring every one to three years, unlike other animals. So, because of this biological limitation, sharks face the danger of becoming extinct.
Today, there are about 100 million sharks killed by men annually. Commercial fishing devastates the shark population worldwide. Adding to the problem is the illegal, underreported, and unreported fishing and the high death toll brought by overfishing and bycatch.
People may think that everyday fishing is a harmless activity, and that is true. However, anything more than normal becomes harmful - overfishing for one.
Overfishing happens when a huge number of fish are removed from their environment faster than they can naturally reproduce. The effects are usually seen when small fish are removed from the ocean before they could grow. It causes the food chain to be rattled as bigger fish feed on small fish to survive. This has adverse effects on sharks.
A team of ecologists at Dalhousie University, led by fisheries biol