Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Protected Dusky Sharks Decimated by Fishing (Op-Ed)

Amanda Keledjian, Oceana | April 22, 2014 11:44am ET

Amanda Keledjian is a marine scientist at Oceana, the largest international conservation organization working solely to protect the world's oceans. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

With upwards of 100 million sharks killed around the world every year, it's no surprise that their numbers have plummeted. In fact, a quarter of the world's shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

One species of concern is the dusky shark, a wide-ranging species commonly found along continental coastlines in tropical and temperate waters. Dusky sharks can grow to be 14 feet (4 meters) long, and mainly feed on bony fish, squid, and other sharks and rays. Several characteristics make this species of shark particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation, including the fact that dusky sharks do not give birth to many pups each year. The dusky shark also takes 20 years to reach maturity, making it one of the slowest growing of known sharks.

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