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17 different shark species are now classified as facing extinction.
In a recent assessment, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group evaluated 58 shark species found that and 17 shark species are now classified as facing extinction.
Six of the 58 species assessed were found to be critically endangered, and 11 were listed as endangered.
Three of the species, the whitefin swellshark, the Argentine angel shark, and the smooth back angel shark, are new additions to the IUCN Red List.
The results of the assessment show that shark populations are declining mostly due to demand for the shark’s meat, fins, and even oil. Despite being one of nature’s fiercest predators and a key player in marine food webs, sharks are extremely vulnerable to human activities.
“Our results are alarming and yet not surprising, as we find the sharks that are especially slow-growing, sought-after, and unprotected from overfishing tend to be the most threatened,” said Nicholas Dulvy, the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group (SSG) co-chair based at Simon Fraser University.
Shark fins are considered a delicacy in some Asian cuisines.
“Today, one of the biggest shark fisheries on the high seas is the mako,” said Dulvy to the AFP, “It is also one of the least protected.”
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