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Shark Fishing Has Negative Effects On Coral Reefs

The United Nations estimates 23 million sharks are harvested annually to quench the demand for shark fin soup. Hammerhead shark. Photo credit score: Thinkstock

Canadian and Australian scientists have decided that shark fishing has a detrimental impact on coral reefs. They discovered that when sharks close to coral reefs decline, the variety of herbivorous fish additionally declines because the inhabitants of mid-level predators, equivalent to snappers, rises. Herbivorous fish are essential to reef ecosystems as a result of they eat algae that may oftentimes overwhelm younger corals.

The scientists studied reefs about 300 kilometers off the coast of Australia in an space the place Indonesians have been fishing for sharks for a number of centuries and proceed to take action beneath an Australian-Indonesian settlement.

“The reefs provided us with a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of over-fishing of sharks on reef resilience, and assess that impact in the broader context of climate change pressures threatening coral reefs,” stated Jonathan Ruppert, a University of Toronto Ph.D graduate who was a part of the group that carried out long run monitoring of the reefs of Australia’s northwest coast. Ruppert was additionally lead writer of the research.

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“Shark fishing appears to have quite dramatic effects on coral reef ecosystems. Given that sharks are in decline on reefs worldwide, largely due to the shark fin trade, this information may prove integral to restoration and conservation efforts,” Ruppert stated.

The research says that reef sharks are intently tied to sure coral reefs and that even small Marine Protected Areas might be efficient in defending sharks and permitting coral reefs to get better from such maladies as coral bleaching or destructions from cyclones or hurricanes. The research will seem within the September 28 difficulty of the PLoS One Journal.

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