Atlantic sharks facing extinction

WESTERN MORNING NEWS

SOME of the region’s most well-known visitors are facing extinction because of the effects of over-fishing, conservationists have warned.

Porbeagle sharks, angel sharks and basking sharks are regular visitors to Westcountry waters, but research carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals they are at serious risk.

An assessment of sharks, rays and chimaeras in the north east Atlantic found 7 per cent of species were critically endangered, while another 7 per cent were endangered.

Most at risk include the porbeagle shark, the common skate, deepwater sharks and spiny dogfish. The IUCN research also found that species are far more at risk in Atlantic’s European waters than they are globally, with 26 per cent at risk of extinction, compared with 18 per cent world-wide.

And the figure could be even higher, as there was insufficient data to assess more than a quarter of the species.

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The IUCN, along with wildlife organisation Shark Alliance, yesterday welcomed proposals by the European Commission to stop fishing for six threatened shark and ray species in 2009.

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Filed under biodiversity, environment, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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