- A new analysis finds that one-third of the world’s chondrichthyan fishes, such as sharks, rays, and chimaeras, are now threatened with extinction
- According to scientists, the percentage of sharks, rays, and chimaeras classified as threatened and facing extinction has increased from 25% to 37%.
- Sharks are also endangered due to climate change and pollution
Chondrichthyan Fish Species are listed as Endangered
The entire ocean ecosystem is impacted by declining shark populations, with some species, such as the hammerhead, bull, and dusky variations, decreasing by up to 99%. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria, one-third of the world’s chondrichthyan fishes, such as sharks, rays, and chimaeras, are currently endangered with extinction.
In this new global survey, scientists evaluated 1,199 sharks, rays, and chimaera species against the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria and found 391 (32%) were classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable. Species categorized in these three IUCN groups are considered threatened with extinction. This statistic rises to more than one-third (37.5%) if Data Deficient species are believed to be threatened in the same proportion as assessed species.
This second global assessment of chondrichthyan fishes discovers twice as many vulnerable species as the first assessment in 2014. Presently, chondrichthyans are the second most threatened vertebrate species (after amphibians) in terms of extinction.
Findings of Investigation
The results of this study are alarming. Overfishing remains a serious threat to sharks, rays, and chimaeras, and present fishing management methods are simply insufficient. In less than a decade, scientists have gone from 25% to 37% of sharks, rays, and chimaeras considered threatened and having a high risk of extinction. This research was made possible by unprecedented collaboration and participation with IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group members and non-members from all across the world.
“This collaborative work to understand the status of species makes me hopeful that we can work together and use our collective global resources and reach to work on reducing the impact of fishing on these species,” said Dr. Rima Jabado, Chair of the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG).
The second reason is habitat destruction. Climate change and pollution also put sharks in danger. Climate change is currently affecting 10.2% of vulnerable chondrichthyan species through coral reef degradation and/or range shifting toward the poles as waters warm. “We need to live less consumptive lifestyles that use fewer fossil produce, less carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. We need to eat less meat because that has all sorts of negative environmental impacts,” states Dr. Abel.