Feature Story

Maps of sharks’ journeys show marine protected areas alone won’t save them

Article by Michelle Carrere 

5 April 2023

Scientists tagging a silky shark with a satellite tracking device. Image © Pelayo Salinas/Charles Darwin Foundation. 

"A team of scientists has monitored the movement of 47 silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) tagged with satellite trackers in the Galápagos Marine Reserve off Ecuador. They observed that the sharks travel longer distances than previously known and spend long periods of time in unprotected areas that have a high degree of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This leaves them vulnerable to fishing pressure, the researchers say. Silky sharks are the second most commonly sold species in the international shark fin trade. Although governments are expanding and connecting protected areas in the region, experts say better management of the oceans and of fishing is needed to save threatened shark species from extinction. "

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A melon butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifasciatus), one of the most territorial Indo-Pacific butterflyfish species swims over a degraded patch of coral reef. Image by Jean-Marie Gradot via Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0) 

A Gorgonacea coral. Thailand’s list of protected animals currently includes all coral species in the orders Gorgonacea, Antipatharia, Stylasterina, Scleractinia, Milleporina, Helioporacea and Alcyonacea, specimens of which Thai authorities scooped up from shops during  raids last year. Image by Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

As oceans warm, temperate reef species edge closer to extinction, study shows

Article by Elizabeth Claire Alberts on 24 March 2023 

"In a new study published in Nature, scientists draw on extensive reef survey data to assess population trends of 1,057 common shallow reef species, including fish, corals, seaweeds and invertebrates. They found that populations of 57% of these species declined between 2008 and 2021. Moreover, 28% of these surveyed species experienced declines of more than 30%, which would qualify them as threatened with extinction if assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria, the authors say. For instance, the study found that the ​​weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), a fish endemic to southern Australia, decreased by 59% from 2011 to 2021.

According to the study, most of these declines happened after warming events, specifically when the water temperature rose by more than about 0.5° Celsius (0.9° Fahrenheit) above 2008 levels. Conversely, warming that didn’t exceed 0.5°C led to an increase in some species."

Read in detail - Mongabay 

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