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Global shark map REVEALED: Scientists identify areas where animals are most vulnerable

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As apex predators, sharks provide many vital functions for maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

Sharks form fish communities, provide a diversity of species and even help our oceans sequester more carbon by preserving seagrass meadows.

But their top status makes them more susceptible to human threats.

Many of these species are affected by fisheries, especially in tropical and coastal areas where large coastal communities live and depend on fish as their main source of protein.

Now researchers have created a map revealing the Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRAs), where shark, ray and chimera species are most at risk and need protection.

They have also developed a framework that aims to fundamentally change the way sharks are considered when designing protected areas, and therefore support the protection they desperately need in the face of extinction.

A new set of global criteria will help identify key areas for sharks, rays and chimeras to ensure the protection they desperately need in the face of extinction. Shown: Shark Area Conservation Basemap

Sharks form fish communities, provide a diversity of species and even help our oceans sequester more carbon by maintaining seagrass meadows

Sharks form fish communities, provide a diversity of species and even help our oceans sequester more carbon by maintaining seagrass meadows

Nearly 40% of all shark and ray species are nearly extinct

A third of all shark and ray species are “threatened with extinction” due to overfishing, according to a recent survey by Conservation groups Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The findings, spanning eight years, show that the number of sharks, rays and chimeras — a group known as chondrichthyan fish — at risk of extinction has doubled to 32.6 percent since 2014.

Eight years ago, 24 percent of species were considered endangered.

“The current observed number of endangered species is more than twice (391 of 1,199) that of the first global assessment in 2014, which reported that 181 of the 1,041 species were endangered,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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“Sharks are a long-lived species: many take a long time to reach sexual maturity and then have only a few young,” said Dr Rima Jabado, president of the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, which helped develop the framework.

“This makes them particularly susceptible to fishing pressure and with an estimated 37 percent of species at risk of extinction, they face a biodiversity crisis.

“The results of the ISRA project will inform policy and ensure that areas critical to the survival of sharks, rays and chimeras are taken into account in spatial planning.”

The ISRA criteria were developed through a collaborative process with shark experts, conservation agencies and governments, and include four criteria and seven sub-criteria.

These take into account the complex biological and ecological needs of sharks, including areas important for endangered or restricted species, the specific habitats that support life history features and vital functions (such as reproduction, feeding, resting, movement), distinguishing features, and the diversity of species within an area.

The map highlights shark sanctuaries (grey), marine protected areas that should not be taken (pink), as well as biologically important areas (green), important biodiversity areas (blue) and areas where a complete ban on shark fishing is in place (white).

“Every effort is being made to ensure that ISRAs contain the best and most up-to-date place-based information science can provide to decision-makers, managers and maritime users,” said Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, co-chair of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected. Areas Taskforce and Vice Chair of the IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group.

“As the ISRA program progresses and gradually covers the entire surface of the ocean (and relevant inland waters), very broad engagement from the global community of shark experts is expected.”

Many of these species are affected by fisheries, especially in tropical and coastal areas where large coastal communities live and depend on fish as their main source of protein.

Many of these species are affected by fisheries, especially in tropical and coastal areas where large coastal communities live and depend on fish as their main source of protein.

By bringing together this information from scientific publications, reports, databases and the expertise of individual shark experts, the scientists hope the ISRAs will help governing bodies develop policies and design protected areas.

“We still have so much to learn about many species of sharks, rays and chimeras, but unfortunately several studies indicate that many protected areas are not adequately meeting their needs,” said Ciaran Hyde, advisor to the IUCN Ocean Team, which contributed to the development. of the frame.

“However, ISRAs will help identify areas for these species using criteria specifically designed to take into account their biological and environmental needs.”

Lynn Sorrentino, IUCN Ocean Team Program Officer, added: “Losing sharks, rays and chimeras will not only affect the health of the entire ocean ecosystem, but also affect food security in many countries.”

The work on the ISRA criteria was supported by the Save Our Seas Foundation and published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Mass extinction of up to 90 percent of all marine species could happen by the end of the century if greenhouse gases are not contained, new study warns

Nearly 90 percent of all marine species are at high or critical risk of extinction by the end of the century if humans don’t curb greenhouse gas emissions, a new study warns.

A team of researchers led by Dalhousie University in Canada evaluated the climate risks of nearly 25,000 species living in the top 100 meters of the ocean and found that a large number will disappear from the planet by 2100 if emissions reach high levels. remain or a ‘business as usual’ scenario.

This would mean a mass die-off of thousands of animals, plants, chromists, protozoa and bacteria that call the world’s oceans their home.

The analysis shows that a “disproportionate number” of sharks, rays and mammals are at high or critical climate risk — 75 percent of them are expected to become extinct by 2100.

All of the endangered species also live in some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the Gulf of Thailand, the Coral Triangle, Northern Australia, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, nearshore India, the Caribbean, and some Pacific islands.

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