Monday, February 18, 2008

More Sharks Swimming Towards Extinction

Nine more species of sharks will be added to the endangered species list this week, their populations decimated by overfishing and a demand for their fins in Asian soup bowls.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) warned that if trends continue many shark species could be extinct within a few short decades. Julia Baum, Scripps Institute of Oceanography researcher and IUCN shark specialist, said: “Sharks are definitely at the top of the list for marine fishes that could go extinct in our lifetimes. If we carry on the way that we are, we’re looking at a really high risk of extinction for some of these shark species within the next few decades.”

One of the new additions to the list of endangered species is the scalloped hammerhead shark. The IUCN will classify the animal as “globally endangered”. Within the last 30 years the shark’s population has shrunk by 99% in many parts of the world. This shark, and eight others, will be added to the list of more than 125 sharks already classified as threatened or endangered by the IUCN. The other new additions to the list are the smooth hammerhead, shortfin mako, common thresher, big-eye thresher, silky, tiger, bull and dusky sharks.

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