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Our work is rooted in science and the principles of sustainability. Science removes guesswork. It enables us to make informed decisions, so we can direct our efforts where it's needed most and get results.
SHARK TRUST PROJECTS
Many of our projects are collaborative in nature and revolve around collecting useful data about sharks. We run several databases, which provide a wealth of information about different species. These all feed in to conservation planning and influence our decision making process. The first step to conservation is research. We need to understand as much as possible about the animals we want to protect. With accurate information at hand, we advocate for positive change for sharks.
SHARKS UNDER THREAT
We need sharks to keep our ocean's healthy and teeming with life. But overfishing is pushing many species to the brink. Sharks and rays are particularly vulnerable to overfishing due to their biology. They're:
- SLOW GROWING & LATE TO MATURE - it's estimated that the Greenland Shark can live ~400 years and doesn’t reach sexual maturity until ~150 years! Many are killed before they’ve produced offspring.
- LONG PREGNANCIES - averaging between 9-12 months. The Greeneye Dogfish has the longest recorded pregnancy at 31 months!
- PRODUCE FEW YOUNG - varying from 2 pups for the Bigeye Thresher to 135 for the Blue Shark. Compare this to the reproduction potential of bony fish who release millions of eggs.
- MAY NOT REPRODUCE EVERY YEAR - some species have a resting phase of 1-2 years.
IUCN RED LIST
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. It supports scientific research and manages field projects all over the world. Bringing together governments, Non Government Organisation's, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities.
The IUCN's most recent analysis on sharks compiles the most comprehensive data we have to date on sharks. It's a vital resource. Knowing where and how a species lives, as well as the threats it faces, is key. Without this information we wouldn't know how to protect them.
Sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras, are among the world's most threatened animals
The IUCN analysis shows that the sharks at highest risk are the large shallow water species. These include angelsharks, thresher sharks and sawfishes. But it's the rays (such as skates, sawfishes, and guitarfishes) that are the most at risk. Yet rays are generally given less attention than their more charismatic relatives.
An estimated 1/4 of all shark, skate, ray and chimaeras species are threatened with extinction. Almost half are listed as Data Deficient. This means that we don't have enough information to assess how threatened they are. Many of these - the “lost” sharks and rays – haven't been seen for decades and may already be extinct.
IUCN Red List Status Categories
Species referred to as threatened are those listed as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).
The infographic below shows the number of shark, skate and ray species listed under each IUCN Red List Category as of 2015:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT IUCN:
See the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (version 3.1) for further details.
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