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Oceanic sharks worldwide at serious risk from high-seas fishing, rising demand for shark products
Date:3/27/2008

NEW YORK CITY -Oceanic shark populations worldwide are declining from destructive high-seas commercial fishing practices and a rising global demand for shark products (mainly fins and meat), with some shark populations severely depleted and only a few stable or recovering, according to a comprehensive new book co-edited by shark experts from the Pew Institute for Ocean Science (www.pewoceanscience.org), published by Blackwell Publishing, and being released today.*

'Sharks of the Open Ocean' documents just how grave the population status of open ocean sharks has become and finds that current management actions, while working in certain areas, are still inadequate to protect sharks that have roamed the oceans for more than 400 million yearsbefore the first dinosaurs appeared on Earthand that play an essential role in maintaining ocean food webs. The book features research findings of more than 70 top shark scientists and experts throughout the world and is the first thorough review of the biology, threats, and management outlook for open ocean sharks and rays.

The book reveals how the once abundant, widely distributed open ocean shark populations have declined within just a few decades due to the staggering impact of modern fishing fleets, which routinely deploy miles-long fishing lines into the water. A typical longline stretches 50 miles, the length of the entire state of Rhode Island, and has 1,200 baited hooks hanging from it. In 2006, there were an estimated 114 million longline hooks deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, killing not only targeted species but also animals not being sought (known as bycatch), including sharks. While death-by-bycatch is the dominant threat to open ocean sharks, pursuit of sharks for their fins and meat is also a growing concern. Demand for these products is putting growing pressure on already depleted species including threshers, shortfin mako, blue and porbeagle s
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Contact: Kathryn Cervino
kcervino@miami.edu
212-756-0042
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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