Sharks, rays live longer than estimated before


THis 2014 video from the USA says about itself:

Stingrays and Manta rays come in many shapes and sizes… But one of the coolest rays in all the ocean has to be the giant Shark Ray.

In the front they are broad like a ray, but the back section they are all shark with dual dorsal fins. How cool is that! Also known as a bowmouth guitarfish, this large species can reach a length of 2.7 m (8.9 ft) and weigh up to 135 kg (298 lb).

WHERE TO SEE RAY SHARKS IN THE USA In one of the biggest resorts in town, there’s a major Aquarium with full-grown Shark Rays in it. It’s called the “Shark Reef” and its main tank is filled with 1.3 million gallons of water. This Aquarium displays all kinds of sharks, rays, fish, reptiles, even a green sawtooth shark — but the real celebrities here are the Shark Rays….

Just step inside what they call the Shark Tunnel and within seconds you will have a very up close and personal encounter – guaranteed!

SHARK RAYS ARE A THREATENED SPECIES. Shark Rays are not dangerous to humans. They like to eat crabs or lobsters and stuff like that but their numbers in the wild are dwindling due to overfishing. They are killed for the shark fin on top. It’s the main ingredient in Shark Fin Soup which is popular in certain parts of the world. Attempts to breed these amazing creatures in captivity so far has been a failure. Seven pups born at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky all died within a few months of their birth.

From James Cook University in Australia:

Sharks and rays live a lot longer than we thought

September 29, 2017

A James Cook University researcher has found that sharks and rays live a lot longer than we thought — some twice as long as previously estimated.

Dr Alastair Harry looked at 53 different populations of sharks and rays that scientists had already intensely studied. He said in nearly a third of populations the studies had underestimated the animals’ ages.

“Questions arose over methods of ageing sharks after it was found that grey nurse sharks can live up to 40-years-old, double the length of time first thought, and the age of New Zealand porbeagle sharks had been underestimated by an average of 22 years,” he said.

Dr Harry said scientists usually measure shark age by counting growth rings in their vertebrae. These measurements are confirmed by tagging animals and injecting them with a fluorescent marker or by measuring carbon accumulated in the animals from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the 1950s.

“Age underestimation appears to happen because the growth rings cease to form or become unreliable beyond a certain size or age. Across the cases I studied age was underestimated by an average of 18 years, and up to 34 years in one instance. From the amount of evidence we now have it looks like the problem is systemic rather than just a few isolated cases,” he said.

Dr Harry said accurate age estimation was important because it was used to manage fishery stocks.

He said the underestimation of longevity in orange roughy, a deep-sea fish, led to overly optimistic estimates of stock productivity, contributing to serious, long-term ecological and socio-economic impacts.

Dr Harry said sharks and rays are less commonly targeted by commercial fishers, but are still often caught as bycatch. That means the impacts of age underestimation may well take longer to become apparent.

“It could lead to inefficient prioritisation of research, monitoring and management measures. If it’s as widespread and common as it seems from this study, the impacts could also be substantial from a wider scientific perspective, affecting the many disciplines that also use baseline life history data,” he said.

To shine light on and conserve rare shark, ray, and chimaera species (chondrichthyans), SFU researchers have developed a fully-resolved family tree and ranked every species according to the unique evolutionary history they account for: here.

6 thoughts on “Sharks, rays live longer than estimated before

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