Oceana

Season 2012 Episode 07.10.12

Mediterranean sharks: The challenge of protecting vanishing fish

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Forty percent of shark and ray species are threatened in the Mediterranean Sea, making it the riskiest place in the world for these fish. This is a so-called common guitarfish, once found throughout this sea. Now, it has all but vanished from the northern Mediterranean, because of overfishing and habitat destruction. Populations of some sharks, such as hammerheads, tope, porbeagles, and shortfin makos, have declined by more than 99%. Where there were once 100 individuals, now only one remains. Again, the main cause is overfishing. For 10 highly threatened species of Mediterranean sharks and rays – including 4 critically endangered species – there is now hope. Mediterranean countries have decided to protect these fish as endangered and threatened species under the Barcelona Convention. We’re thrilled/extremely pleased that these species have been granted the legal protection they urgently need. They can no longer be caught or sold, and their habitat cannot be damaged. The real challenge, now, is to find these fish. They’ve declined dramatically in numbers, and disappeared from parts of the Mediterranean where they were once common. If we’re to protect them from fishing, and to safeguard the habitats that they depend on we first need to identify where they are. Oceana. July 2012moreless

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