100 million sharks killed each year, say scientists
Protect sharks or they face possible extinction in a generation, scientists warn as they gather in Bangkok for Cites meeting. A truck full of sharks heading to market to be finned in the red sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen
Photograph: Paul Hilton/EPA
Almost 100 million sharks are being killed each year, with fishing rates outstripping the ability of populations to recover, scientists have estimated. Sharks need better protection to prevent possible extinction of many species within coming decades, the researchers warned ahead of latest global meeting to discuss the trade in threatened species.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meeting, starting on Monday in Bangkok, will consider greater protection of vulnerable sharks, including porbeagles, oceanic whitetip and three types of hammerhead to prevent unsustainable international trade in them.
Sharks are targeted for their fins for use in shark fin soup, a delicacy in Asia.
But as they are slow-growing and slow to reproduce, they are vulnerable to overfishing. The researchers estimated that global reported catches, unreported landings, discards and sharks caught and thrown back after their fins were cut off – a process known as finning – added up to 97 million fish caught in 2010.
The figure is only slightly down on the estimated 100m caught in 2000, and could be anywhere between 63 million sharks and 273 million a year, the research by North American scientists published in the journal Marine Policy said.Read more in The Guardian