WA Coastal fish species

Hammerhead shark (Photo by Neil Hammerschlag)GLAND, Switzerland, January 21, 2014 (ENS) – At least one in every four existing species of sharks and rays may not survive into the future, finds the first global analysis of the conservation status of 1, 041 shark, ray and related species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, hosts a clutch of species specialist groups that contribute information to its authoritative Red List of Threatened Species.

This study, conducted by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, marks the 50th anniversary year of The IUCN Red List. It was published today in the journal “eLIFE.”

“Our analysis shows that sharks and their relatives are facing an alarmingly elevated risk of extinction, ” said Dr. Nick Dulvy, IUCN Shark Specialist Group Co-Chair and Canada Research Chair at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

guitarfish“In greatest peril are the largest species of rays and sharks, especially those living in shallow water that is accessible to fisheries, ” he said.

Overfishing is the main threat to the species, finds the study, the product of 302 experts from 64 countries.

The Indo-Pacific, particularly the Gulf of Thailand and the Mediterranean Sea are the two spots where the depletion of sharks and rays is most dramatic. Also, the Red Sea is inhabited by many threatened sharks and rays, according to the experts.

The 1, 041 cartilagenous fish species studied include sharks and rays as well as chimaeras, cartilaginous fish that live deeper than 650 feet below the surface.

The skeletons of these cartilagenous fish are made of cartilage rather than bone, making them desirable for food or pharmaceuticals.

“The global market for shark fins used in shark fin soup is a major factor in the depletion of not only sharks but also some rays with valuable fins, such as guitarfish, ” the scientists say.

Sharks, rays and chimaeras are also sought for their meat, pharmaceuticals are made from deep sea shark livers, while manta and devil rays are used in a Chinese tonic.

The sharks, rays and chimaeras are at a “substantially higher risk than most other groups of animals and have the lowest percentage of species considered safe – with only 23 percent categorized as Least Concern, ” the authors state.

Coastal Waterbird Colonies: Maine to Virginia 1977 An Atlas Showing Colony Locations And Species Composition
Book (USDI Fish & Wildlife Service)

Seagrass stores more carbon than forests

2012-05-26 11:11:38 by IyamIyam

Coastal seagrass can store more heat-trapping carbon per square mile (kilmometre) than forests can, which means these coastal plants could be part of the solution to climate change, scientists said in a new study.
Even though seagrasses occupy less than 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, they can hold up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, a global team of researchers reported Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
That is more than twice the 30,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer a typical terrestrial forest can store.
Earth's oceans are an important carbon sink - keeping climate-warming carbon dioxide from human-made and natural sources out of the atmosphere - and seagrasses account for more than 10 percent of all the carbon buried...

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“This allows the predator fish to feed heavily on the forage fish species. Consequently, the predator fish species are fatter and healthier during the next years spawning season,” she explained.

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