Our selection of top shark stories, highlighting the latest news and discoveries from around the world...

Will Sharks Survive?

30 January

Following on from the latest findings from the Global Shark Trends Project, shark scientists in Australia further emphasize the need for science-based management across a species range to protect highly mobile sharks. But, with the appropriate management in place and the necessary enforcement there is hope for vulnerable species.

Spanish Environment Ministry Steps Up in Support of the Endangered Shortfin Mako

28 January

Welcome news from Spain, as domestic fishing fleets are prohibited from retaining North Atlantic Shortfin Mako in 2021. A positive move from the Spanish Environment Ministry as they enforce the position taken by the EU’s CITES Scientific Review Group in 2020.

Oceanic Sharks and Rays Face Unprecedented Extinction Risk from Overfishing

27 January

Disturbing news from the Global Shark Trends Project (GSTP) published in Nature. Oceanic sharks and rays have faced a decline of 71% in global abundance over the past 50 years. The main cause of this decline is a result of overfishing. This ground-breaking study reinforces the need for urgent science-based action for sharks and rays found in the high-seas.

New Insight into the Range of One of Southern Africa's Most Endangered Sharks

26 January

New research into the Critically Endangered Shorttail Nurse Shark shows they have a much larger range than previously thought. Latest findings have identified this shark, which is endemic to southern Africa, in the waters off Mozambique. This represents a range extension of more than 2,000 km!

Plastics Found in Sea-bed Sharks

25 January

Marine scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered microplastics in four seabed dwelling sharks in the UK. They have found a total of 379 particles in the guts of 46 sharks. Highlighting the "pervasive nature of plastic pollution".

Great to see these two articles, which align with our positions featured in Science…

  1. Shortfin Mako Sharks Speeding to the Brink - 22 January
    Despite clear scientific advice to ban retention of the Endangered North Atlantic Shortfin Mako. Prominent fishing nations continue to block the policies necessary for rebuilding populations of this increasingly vulnerable shark. Scientists estimate the North Atlantic Shortfin Mako has a 60% chance of recovery by 2070 if scientific advice is adopted.

  2. A Call to Action for Mediterranean Sharks & Rays - 22 January

    The Mediterranean is a risky place to be a shark or ray. Over 50% of all sharks and rays caught in the Mediterranean are listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

    In November 2020, the collective action taken by over 3O NGOs, of which we were pleased to coordinate, called on the Tunisian Government to fulfil its international commitments to protect threatened elasmobranchs. The decision to issue an interim ban on fishing and trading of 21 species of shark and ray that followed was a positive outcome. But urgent action is needed by all Mediterranean countries to protect threatened species inhabiting these perilous waters.

Two pieces caught our eye on Whale Sharks this week…

Hammerhead Hunts Blacktip Sharks

19 January

And finally…a brief but lovely bit of footage taken by Florida Atlantic University Elasmobranch Research Lab of a hammerhead shark hunting Blacktip Sharks off Florida…enjoy!

Australian Seafood Consumers Urged to “Give Flake a Break”

17  January

A new conservation campaign in Australia is calling consumers to “give flake a break”. The term ‘flake’ is often used when labelling shark meat in Australia, regardless of the species in question. Species-specific labelling is also a challenge in the UK. 'Rock salmon', while once mainly Spiny Dogfish, includes a multitude of coastal sharks making it a challenge for consumers to know exactly what they’re buying.

Jurassic Shark

15  January

Paleontologists have discovered the well-preserved fossil of a Hybodontiform Shark (Asteracanthus ornatissimus) in Solnhofen Limestone, Germany. A close relative to modern day sharks, scientists believe this shark swam in a lagoon in the area during the Late Jurassic period. It’s estimated to have reached lengths of ~3m. This species was first described 150 years ago.

Warming Waters Affect Baby Shark Development

12  January

Researchers have been studying the effect warming water temperatures have on the development of baby Epaulette Sharks. Embryos exposed to higher temperatures were found to emerge from their eggcases up to 25 days earlier. Making them less efficient hunters. These findings have implications for all egglaying elasmobranchs as ecosystems change around them.

New Megalodon Discovery!

11  January

Latest research into the extinct Megalodon has revealed this mammoth shark gave birth to young measuring 2-2.5m long. That’s even bigger than the average height of an adult human! Scientists discovered this when they x-rayed a megalodon fossil. And used the growth bands in the vertebrae to estimate the size of a newborn.

Protection for Mobulas & Whale Sharks in Mozambique

9 January

Great news for sharks and other marine life in Mozambique, as new commercial fishing laws and environmental regulations are introduced! Protection for all species of mobula (which now includes mantas), and Whale Sharks has been adopted. As well as the best practice requirement for all sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached.

Two Shark Species Recorded in The Galapagos for the First Time

6 January

Another new sighting! Broadnose Sevengill and Bluntnose Sixgill sharks have been observed around the Galápagos for the first time ever. These sightings provide scientists with important information about the range and habitat preferences of these species.

Megamouth Shark Recorded in Peruvian waters

5 January

Megamouth Sharks have been reported in Peruvian waters for the first time after being caught by accident in small-scale fisheries. These records emphasise the need for continued monitoring to establish the prevalence of this species and their vulnerability to encounters with fisheries.

‘Vacationing’ Basking Sharks

4 January

A genetic tagging study has revealed that, like many holidaymakers, Basking Sharks make annual trips with extended family to familiar locations that serve their favoured fare. In their case zooplankton. Locations with lots of zooplankton attract Basking Sharks from across the Atlantic. Much like popular holiday destinations attract humans.

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Banner image: Whale Shark © Steve Jones