Why is conserving elasmobranchs so difficult?

Concern is growing over the conservation status of elasmobranch populations. An estimated 25% of species are thought to be threatened with extinction worldwide, due to increasing threats from direct overfishing, being caught as accidental bycatch and habitat degradation. Despite this concern, managing and conserving elasmobranch populations has proven to be a difficult task- but why?   Elasmobranchs (sharks,…

An over-whale-ming animal

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the world’s largest fish, growing up to 65 feet and weighing around 75,000 pounds! Despite this huge size, they prey on tiny organisms. Whale sharks are known as filter feeders; they feed by ingesting huge amounts of water, and filtering out plankton, small crustaceans and fish, which get trapped in…

Sharks are friends, not food.

Above: Blacktip reef shark. The ocean is salty from the tears of misunderstood sharks. Ever since the film Jaws came out in 1975, sharks have had a bad reputation; this mega-hit film series invoked a sense of fear in beach-goers and caused a shark-horror tend in Hollywood. The irony of this fear is that we…

Lethal conservation?

Concerns over the varying decline of top oceanic predators due to climate change, habitat degradation and overfishing are growing. An estimated 25% of elasmobranchs are threatened with extinction, which begs the question: are lethal sampling methods really worth it? The decline of elasmobranch and other top predator populations is well-documented, and there is a general…