Extinction: ‘Time is running out’ to save sharks and rays

Scientists say sharks and rays are disappearing from the world’s oceans at an “alarming” rate.

The number of sharks found in open oceans has plunged by 71% over half a century, mainly due to over-fishing, according to a new study.

Three-quarters of the species studied are now threated with extinction. And the researchers say immediate action is needed to secure a brighter future for these “extraordinary, irreplaceable animals.” They are calling on governments to implement science-based fishing limits.

Study researcher, Dr. Richard Sherley of the University of Exeter, said the declines appear to be driven very much by fishing pressures.

He said, “For every 10 sharks you had in the open ocean in the 1970s, you would have three today, across these species, on average.”

Sharks and rays are caught for their meat, fins and liver oil. They are also captured for recreational fishing and turn up by accident in the catch of fishing boats targeting other stocks.

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