Hammerhead sharks in danger


This video is called Shark Academy: Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.

From Wildlife Extra:

US lists four species of hammerhead shark under its Endangered Species Act

The US National Marine Fisheries Service has recently listed four populations of scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini, under the American Endangered Species Act (ESA), because of severe threats posed by human exploitation.

“It’s sobering that we must begin adding shark species to the endangered species list,” said Taylor Jones, endangered species advocate for WildEarth Guardians, an American non-profit organisation.

“Our oceans are in serious trouble and this is only the first step toward protecting and restoring the ocean ecosystems that these amazing carnivores call home.”

Shark species worldwide are dwindling in the face of heavy fishing pressures, with animals killed for their meat and fins.

Sharks are also accidentally caught and killed in the course of fishing operations targeting other species. In fact, experts consider fishing to be the greatest threat to the future of all shark species.

Most sharks, including the scalloped hammerhead, maintain oceanic ecosystems as apex carnivores. Ecosystem stability and biodiversity, the preservation of which is the main goal of the ESA, can suffer from the removal of this top predator.

Scalloped hammerheads can be grouped into six distinct populations distinguished by genetics, geography, and behaviour. The new listing rule protects the Central and Southwest Atlantic populations and the Indo-West Pacific populations as Threatened, and the Eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific populations as Endangered.

“The listing of the scalloped hammerhead is an important indication that the human exploitation of marine species has taken its toll,” said Michael Harris, Director of the Wildlife Law Program that was launched last year by the American organisation, Friends of Animals, to use environmental laws to protect wildlife and their habitats.

“In fact, nearly half of all marine species worldwide face the threat of extinction as a result of anthropogenic action, including destructive fishing methods, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification.

“It is about time that our government took action to protect hammerheads. Now they should do the same for the many species still awaiting review under the ESA.”

Listing under the ESA has proven to be an effective safety net for imperiled species. Proponents say the law is especially important as a bulwark against the current extinction crisis.

Due to human activities, plants and animals are disappearing at a rate much higher than the natural rate of extinction. Scientists estimate that 227 species would have become extinct if they had not been listed under the ESA.

Listing species with a global distribution can protect the species in the United States and help focus resources toward enforcement of international regulation and recovery of the species.

Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year — mostly for the sake of a bowl of soup — but conservationists hope that that the multibillion-dollar trade in shark fins will soon be more endangered than the sharks. Several trends are coming together — including high-profile pledges in China to swear off the traditional soup, to laws banning shark fins from menus, to new international export regulations that are due to take effect in September: here.

Turtle, shark migration from Costa Rica to Ecuador


This is called Sea Turtle Migration Video.

From Wildlife Extra:

First evidence of an important marine migration corridor between Costa Rica and Ecuador

Sanjay, a 53k (117lb) male endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), recently made history when he completed a 14-day migration from the Cocos Island Marine National Park in Costa Rica to the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador.

Sanjay is the first turtle to directly link these two protected marine areas, proving the connectivity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific, as well as highlighting the importance of protecting migration routes.

“It’s truly remarkable,” said Alex Hearn, conservation science director for the Turtle Island Restoration Network, based in California.

“Sanjay knew where he was headed, and made a beeline from one marine protected area to the next.

“These protected areas of ocean are hot spots for endangered green sea turtles, but we also need to think about their migratory corridors between protected areas.”

Sanjay was one of three green sea turtles tagged at Cocos Island in June during a joint 10-day research expedition by the Turtle Island Restoration Network and Programa Testauracion de Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas (PRETOMA) of Costa Rica.

Since 2009, the two organisations have tagged over 100 turtles and several species of sharks in a programme to understand how endangered turtles and sharks use the Cocos Island and Galapagos National Parks marine protected areas, and to see if their is biological connectivity between those new sanctuaries.

Sanjay is the first turtle to have been documented moving between these two marine protected areas and joins several hammerhead sharks, a silky shark and a Galapagos shark that have spent time at both of these reserves.

“Finally seeing a turtle move from Cocos Island directly to Galapagos is absolutely amazing,” said Maike Heidemeyer from PRETOMA. “Especially because preliminary genetic research results suggest that there is a connection between the green turtles at Cocos Island and the Galapagos.”

Green sea turtles, like Sanjay, play an important role in the Eastern Tropical Pacific ecosystem, but little is known about the geographic distribution of juveniles and males, despite the fact that nesting sites for female turtles have been identified in the Galapagos, mainland Mexico and Revillagigedo Islands, as well in the Northern Pacific of Costa Rica.

At Cocos Island, two different populations of turtles occur: the black-to gray coloured Eastern Pacific green turtles (also known as “black turtles”) and Western Pacific populations. Both populations are considered by some to be subspecies, but there is no official taxonomic division.

“These species are protected while they are in the reserves, but as soon as they swim beyond the no-fishing zone, they are being hammered by industrial fishing vessels that set millions of hooks in the region,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island, biologist and co-primary investigator of the Cocos research programme.

“Our goal is to collect the necessary scientific data to understand the migratory routes and advocate for ‘swimways’ to protect these endangered species throughout their migration.”

“The route that Sanjay followed is riddled with longline fishing gear,” said Randall Arauz of PRETOMA.

“Several international initiatives exist to improve marine conservation in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and its time for these initiatives to translate into direct actions that ultimately protect these turtles from unsustainable fishing practices.”

Satellite, acoustic and genetic information is currently being analysed and will be officially published later in the year.

Sea turtle Sanjay is on the move again, the latest ping suggests that he is headed to green sea turtle nesting grounds at Isabela Island.

Sanjay’s migration track can be seen on this map.

British Virgin Islands new shark sanctuary


This video is called Shark Academy: Caribbean Reef Sharks.

From Wildlife Extra:

British Virgin Islands to become shark sanctuary

A shark sanctuary is to be created in the territorial waters of the British Virgin Island[s], its government has announced. The waters cover an approximate 31,000 square miles and it is hoped that the sanctuary will help protect all shark species. Shark numbers have been dwindling and in January the IUCN announced that a quarter of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.

Kedrick Pickering, deputy premier and minister for natural resources, said that the loss of sharks disrupts the predator-prey balance, compromising the health of oceans and reefs and the survival of other marine creatures.

“The best way to manage their populations is to let them fulfill their ecological role as apex predators,” Pickering said at a conference in Belgium.

The islands are a British overseas territory and comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands that are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago.

To read all about the great white shark and its threats, behavour, diet and favoured habitats click HERE.

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Good basking shark news from Cornwall


This video says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Basking sharks and Lampreys

8 May 2012

In 1998, Jonathan made a remarkable discovery about Basking sharks, the second largest fish on Earth. While diving with Basking sharks in the frigid waters of the Bay of Fundy, Jonathan saw parasitic lampreys on the backs of the sharks. This had never before been documented, so he returned the next year with a shark biologist and a lamprey biologist to attempt to recover living lampreys from the backs of Basking sharks. They didn’t think Jonathan could do it. Wait until you see what happens!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Conservationists rejoice as Cornwall is awash with basking sharks

Paul Gallagher

Friday 09 May 2014

So many basking sharks have already been spotted in British waters that experts are declaring this the best start to shark season in living memory.

A wildlife tour group reported sighting 19 basking sharks up to 25 feet in length last weekend as the eight-tonne travellers begin to arrive off the south west coast.

The animals, which travel to temperate waters and can stay in British regions until October, have been growing in numbers year on year according to The Shark Trust. A total of 266 Basking Shark sightings were reported to the Trust last year as it hopes for an even higher number in 2014.

“To see so many this early has been an absolute honour and it is exciting to consider what the rest of the season may hold for us,” said Captain Keith Leeves, a veteran skipper with AK Wildlife Cruises, told the Western Morning News.

“We have been blown away with the size of the sharks too, with several sharks being over 20 feet long, which is something truly special to behold! This has been one of the best starts to a shark season in living memory.”

Crew Member Billy Burton said: “Guests have been absolutely blown away by the sightings they have had. There is something awe-inspiring about seeing a 25-foot shark approach you, mouth wide open.”

The cruise company has raised concerns about basking sharks, the second biggest fish behind whale sharks, after spotting a number of sharks with chunks missing from their fins. It said the most likely cause for the damage was encounters with boats navigated by negligent skippers and holidaymakers. AK stressed the importance of following the guidelines from the Shark Trust when around the animals.

The swelling numbers led Penzance-based operator Marine Discovery to urge people to be more cautious than normal when on the water around the south west coast.

A spokesman said: “At this time of year basking sharks can be found feeding off the Cornish coast and it’s fantastic to see them. However it is important to remember that they need to be approached carefully so as not to disturb their natural behaviour, this feeding time is a crucial part of their yearly cycle.

“If a shark thrashes its tail and dives or stops feeding and dives then it is likely you have disturbed it. If this happens learn from the mistake and try not to repeat it.”

Exeter University student Tom Whitlock said he saw four basking sharks, one of three plankton-eating sharks alongside the whale and megamouth sharks, on a recent cruise trip along the coast.

Basking sharks became a protected species in 1998 meaning they cannot be targeted, retained or disturbed in British waters.

A spokesperson for the Shark Trust said: “It may come as a surprise to many, but sharks are a natural part of UK marine fauna; whether native or vagrant, over 30 species of shark, as well as over 16 species of skate and ray, can be found in British waters. However, shark, skate and ray numbers have dropped dramatically in our waters due to the impact of poorly managed fisheries.

“Sightings of sharks are mainly reported in summer months when more people are out on the water and should be treated as a privilege rather than a point of concern. Sharks make an easy target for dramatic headlines but it remains far more dangerous to drive to the beach than to swim in our seas.”

British sharks

At least 21 species of shark are resident inhabitants and commonly found around the coasts of Britain all year round, including the Smallspotted Catshark, Porbeagle Shark and Basking Shark, according to The Shark Trust.

Its website says: “Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako Sharks are seasonal visitors, appearing in British waters in summer during their trans-Atlantic migrations. A few species, Smooth Hammerhead and Frilled Shark may be vagrants, occurring infrequently off the British coast, with their main distribution ranges being outside British waters. At least 11 shark species, including the Portuguese Dogfish, Black Dogfish, Kitefin Shark and Gulper Sharks are only found in deep water.”

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Australian governmental shark killing not saving a single human


This video says about itself:

Massive Mako Shark Surprises Diver and Blue Marlin

While on a Guy Harvey Expedition off Cat Island in the Bahamas, diver and shark expert Jim Abernethy was filming a blue marlin underwater when he got a surprise visit from a 10ft. long, 600 lb. mako. Out of nowhere, the massive shark shoots past Jim like a missile, passing within feet of the unsuspecting diver and turning a quiet, peaceful dive into an explosion of bubbles and shouts!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Australia shark cull: Government destroys 50 sharks in trial programme – but fails to catch a single great white blamed for fatalities

Opponents of scheme say it is hurting the wrong shark species and doing nothing to protect beachgoers

Adam Withnall

Wednesday 07 May 201

More than 170 sharks have been caught and 50 destroyed as part of Australia’s controversial culling policy, government figures have revealed.

Officials said the programme was “successfully restoring confidence” among beachgoers in Western Australia, but opponents have been critical after it emerged that the animals caught did not include a single great white – the species most often blamed for fatal attacks.

The trial scheme involved placing drum lines along seven of the state’s most popular beaches, and while tiger sharks were the most commonly caught there were also five protected makos, four of which were either killed or found already dead on the line.

The largest shark caught measured was at Floreat Beach, and measured 4.5m (15ft). All the animals destroyed were longer than 3m (10ft).

The government is now seeking permission to extend the programme for the next three years, but opposition politicians described attempts to justify the cull as “utter nonsense”.

Greens MP Lynn MacLaren told Australia’s ABC News that tiger sharks had not been implicated in a human fatality for almost 100 years, and that reducing their numbers “does nothing to improve beach safety”.

She said: “We know that the great white shark is the shark that has been implicated in fatalities off our coast, and no great white sharks were captured on the drum lines in this whole programme.”

Labor’s fisheries spokesman Dave Kelly said the policy had proved “very unpopular”, adding: “It has hardly caught any of the sharks it was destined to catch and the government hasn’t produced any scientific evidence to say that the policy is working.”

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