News News Digest - September Our selection of top shark stories, highlighting the latest news and discoveries from around the world... Improved Protection for Sharks and Rays in Bangladesh 28 September Fisheries management in Bangladesh has taken a step in the right direction following an amendment to the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012 to include more shark and ray species. The updated list strictly protects some of the most threatened families of chondrichthyan in the world including all guitarfish, wedgefish and sawfish, as well as an additional 23 species of shark and ray. Whilst allowing for sustainable fishing of 29 species only if capture is considered non-detrimental to populations. The updated legislation is a much-needed step towards reducing the extinction risk of elasmobranchs in the region. Of which over half of the 116 species known or suspected to occur in Bangladeshi waters are threatened with extinction. Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization fails to agree Greenland Shark ban despite broad support 24 September A proposal to ban retention of all Greenland Shark caught on the high seas of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) waters has been thwarted. Thought to live to ~400 years of age, and only reach reproductive age at ~150 years, Greenland Sharks are inherently vulnerable to overfishing. Despite support from multiple countries, the science-based proposal from the US was withdrawn after opposition from Iceland. Supporting Parties have pledged to reintroduce the proposal at the next annual meeting. First Comprehensive Assessment of Australia's Sharks and Rays Released 21 September A national action plan for Australia’s sharks, rays and chimaeras has been published covering 328 species inhabiting the regions waters. The action plan reveals the extinction risk for these species, of which 12% have been assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction. This assessment is a call to action to protect sharks and rays in Australia, whose waters can serve as a refuge for certain species that are threatened in other parts of the world e.g. Giant Guitarfish, and Spotted Eagle Ray. Check out the full Action Plan here. Proposals for Protected Zones for Basking Sharks in Ireland 19 September The coast of Kerry is known to be a hotspot for Basking Sharks during the summer months and now a proposal to make Tralee Bay and Dingle Bay protected areas for this Endangered shark has been submitted to the Irish Government. This new proposal follows off the back of a bill submitted earlier in the year to amend the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2021 in Ireland, and assign Basking Sharks protected status in Irish waters. It is hoped that the approval of both these bills will provide additional protection for Basking Sharks in these areas that are thought to be important breeding and nursery sites. Saving Critically Endangered Sawfishes in Northern Territory 18 September A group of Indigenous rangers and a researcher in the Northern Territory, Australia have spent the last nine years saving sawfishes stranded in billabongs and mangroves. To date they’ve rescued more than 70 sawfishes and released them back into the Daly River. Given the threatened status of these rays, the team is continuing to offer sawfishes a helping hand, whilst also reminding fishers to release any caught and encourage them to record details. Increase in Grey Nurse Sharks at Queensland Breeding Site 11 September Researchers have recorded the greatest number of Grey Nurse Sharks in 13 years at a breeding site off the coast of Queensland. This site has been identified as the only known site where pregnant females congregate on the East Coast of Australia. Despite an apparent increase in numbers at this site, Grey Nurse Sharks are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to fishing pressure across their range. Critically Endangered Angelshark Filmed for the First Time in Wales 7 September Great news for Angelshark’s in Wales after Jake Davies, Angel Shark Project: Wales Co-ordinator filmed a Critically Endangered Angelshark whilst on a dive in North Cardigan Bay. Making it the first time this species has been caught on film off the Welsh coast. The Angelshark was identified as a juvenile, proving this shark which is from one of the most threatened families of chondrichthyan in the world, is reproducing in Welsh waters. Check out the incredible footage! New Study Reveals 37% Of All Sharks and Rays Are Threatened with Extinction 4 September A new comprehensive study into the conservation status of ~1,200 species of shark, ray and chimaera has revealed that 37% are now directly threatened with extinction. Primarily due to overfishing. Researchers warn the number of species facing extinction has more than doubled in less than a decade, with rays identified out as the most threatened. For access to the full paper visit here. Tiger Shark Priorities: Food Over Friends? 3 September Previously thought to be solitary animals, new research carried out on Tiger Sharks in a popular tourist spot in the Bahamas has revealed they appear to form social groups. However, scientists found these ‘friendship’ groups become somewhat random in the presence of bait provided by tourism activities. The practice of baiting to attract sharks is a controversial topic with long term effects on the natural behaviour of these animals still unknown. Whilst this study provides further insight, more research is needed to determine long term effects following increased tourism activity.