The latest report from International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is the first time that IUCN Red List criteria, considered the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of plants and animals, have been used to classify open ocean, or pelagic, sharks and rays.
The Red list gives the status of 64 types of shark and ray, over 30% of which are threatened with extinction. The authors, IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group, say a main cause is overfishing. Listed as endangered are two species of hammerhead shark, often subject to “finning” – a practice of removing the fins and throwing away the body.
Even if you don’t go near the sea, you might think that fewer sharks is a good thing. But it’s not. It upsets the balance of nature and destroys the marine ecosystem. And when large creatures are threatened it is a sign that humanity’s habitat is further degraded.