04 Apr 2012

Shark Extinction: The Shocking Truth

Comments Featured, Infographics, Surf Environment, Surf FAQs

Ocean lovers everywhere, we are at crisis point. The top predator species in the food chain of our oceans is being hunted to extinction. Some shark specie populations are estimated to have declined by over 99% since the 1970′s!

The repercussions for marine eco-systems are dramatic and have devastating consequences down the food chain. To name but one example, species of Rays and Skates can explode leading in turn to the shocking decline of shellfish fisheries and a rapid reduction in water quality. And that’s just for starters!

Once these apex predators are gone the consequences are unthinkable. Act now before it’s too late!

Shark Extinction The Shocking Truth

Created by Surfmeisters Surfmeisters.com

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  1. Byron Smith says:

    Thanks for a truly disturbing infographic. I'm very interested to know how you reached the estimate of 100 million shark deaths annually. None of the sources mentioned seem to use that precise figure.

    The best I can reconstruct is that the following line of thought. First, this 2006 study estimates global trade in shark fins and shark meat: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1461….

    "Estimates of the total number of sharks traded annually worldwide, based on all fin positions combined, ranged from 26 to 73 million/year (95% PI), with an overall median of 38 million/year."

    They the note: "In addition, our trade-based biomass calculations may underestimate global shark catches. For example, due to the lack of data on domestic production and consumption of shark fins by major Asian fishing entities such as in Taiwan and Japan, unless exported for processing and then re-imported, these fins are not accounted for within our methodology (Clarke 2004b). Furthermore, shark mortality which does not produce shark fins for market, e.g. fishing mortality where the entire carcass is discarded, is also not included. These discrepancies suggest that world shark catches are considerably higher than reported, and thus shark stocks are facing much heavier fishing pressures than previously indicated."

    This study (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X09000050) estimates that bycatch comprises 40.6% of global marine catches. Obviously, this is not all shark, but even if only a tiny fraction is shark, then we're still talking many millions more added to the numbers. I'm also not sure of the scale of domestic shark trade in "major Asian fishing entities", but don't expect it to be small, since these locations are the primary drivers of the trade so their local production is very likely to be extensive. I can see that the actual number is likely to be considerably north of 38 million, but I'm wondering how you reached the figure of 100 million. Was it just a round number that is probably in the right ballpark or have I missed some references that discuss it explicitly?

    Furthermore, I assume the 90% reduction figure is based on this 2003 study: http://billhutten.s3.amazonaws.com/fw/docs/261.pd…. Is that right?

    Finally, I had to amend the initial link in your embedding code to get it to work. Looks like the URL has been somewhat shortened in the code?

    Thanks again for the graphic. I've posted it on my site with a few reflections.

  2. Surfmeisters says:

    Thanks for the considered feedback Byron and thanks for reposting. We took the 100 million figure from this source http://animals.howstuffworks.com/fish/shark-fishi… and the 90% figure from here http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/aug/17/sha

    Thanks and stay in touch

  3. Jeff says:

    Any chance of getting a print-ready PDF? We're a non-profit conservation org. and would love to post this in our office.

  4. We may differ on the statistics but it is not denied that shark population is rapidly decreasing so I think we can differ on them but still continue to reduce our intake of shark products and more so clean ocean waters to the capacity possible so that they have a healthy environment for living.

  5. nick says:

    kill them all! i could care less if they live and I am pretty sure most beach goers feel the same. devot your time for something else! you protest the circus about elephants, or the oil spills or enviorment friendly shit. what a waist of time on those predators. I like beef and chick more any way. let the ocean get screwed up to much damn mercury in those foods.

  6. Martinez Arianna says:

    This is the only truth for all the endangered species in the world. Men is the only reason for the extinction of some of the species from the planet Earth. :( Its bad that we kill animals for just the sake of money. I strongly criticize this.

  7. Abigail says:

    It should be stopped.I am a biology student and i know that, shark plays an important role in marine biology, when sharks eat fishes, the remaining of the food would become the food of underwater plants, like sea weed etc, which is the base of her make up. shark is a beautiful creature and protect us from water alien attacks. If shark populations drop, ray populations increase. More rays consume more shellfish, and shellfish populations decrease. This has a negative effect on the entire ecosystem, as shellfish filter and clean water. So realize to stop that as soon as possible.
    Thanks for posting this beautiful article.