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

' compiles a wealth of fascinating information about the biology of ocean-going sharks, from the charismatic white and mako sharks to the poorly known pelagic stingray. These sharks migrate thousands of miles across entire ocean basins, the book reveals. Other studies in the book suggest that there are areas of the open ocean where these sharks congregate for feeding, mating and giving birth, indicating that closing such areas to fishing would be a useful conservation step. The book also highlights some approaches adopted by experts working to protect sharks and rays, and provides a roadmap for effective management of these magnificent predators in the near future.

Important management progress has been made in recent years, with more than 20 countries and 9 regional fishery organizations banning the wasteful practice of finning (slicing off the fins and returning the carcass to the sea). These finning bans are a great first step if properly implemented, said Dr. Merry Camhi. But as this synthesis of the available status and management information demonstrates, recovery of already depleted oceanic shark populations will demand precautionary catch limits and other measures at both the domestic and international level to reduce fishing mortality.

Shark populations can recover from overexploitation, Dr. Babcock said, pointing to a 1991 United Nations ban on high seas driftnet fisheries that probably allowed salmon sharks in the North Pacific to rebuild, and current domestic management measures that appear to be keeping the population stable.

Sharks and rays of the open ocean remain among the least studied predators, said Dr. Pikitch, and this book is a critical contribution to the body of knowledge. My hope is that this book will accelerate understanding of the role sharks play, and hasten the implementation of research and conservation measures needed to protect them, Dr. Pikitch said. Sharks of the open ocean can recover if we give th
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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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