A quarter of the world’s sharks and rays are at risk of extinction from over commercial fishing, according to a new report.
NPR reported that a study recently published by Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that sharks and rays and related species are facing a 25 percent risk of extinction primarily from commercial overfishing. While already endangered in several parts of the world, sharks and sharklike rays are highly prized catches for the Asian market, because their fins can be used to make shark fin soup.
Sonja Fordham, president of Shark Advocates International and consultant in the IUCN’s study, had this to say about the prominence of ray fins:
“People know about the global trade in shark fins, but few know that some of the most valuable fins that are used in shark fin soup come from the sharklike rays – species like sawfishes and wedgefishes and guitarfishes.”
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Sharks, rays and their related species are ancient sea creatures that have grown over the course of millions of years. Shark researches are now concerned that the commercial demand for these species will quickly eradicate them from the oceans.
“We estimated that globally we are catching at least 100 million sharks a year,” Boris Worm, a leading shark researcher told NPR. “That’s 11,000 each hour, every day, 365 days a year. So that’s a lot of sharks.”
Worm also told NPR that he estimates 6 to 8 percent of the world’s sharks and rays are caught every year.
If you do the math, you’ll realize that it won’t take long to deplete these species from the oceans.