London, Some of the world’s most unusual
sharks and rays are on the brink of extinction because of threats, such
as commercial fishing, scientists have said.
A shark that uses its tail to stun prey and a ray half the length of a
bus are on the list of 50 species.
The scientists say sharks have a bad image and people do not
understand how important and threatened they are. And losing even
one of these “living fossils” would wipe out millions of years of
“The biggest myth around sharks is definitely the perception that they
are dangerous, that they are man-eating machines – they’re not,”
marine biologist Fran Cabada told BBC News.
“There have been some negative interactions recorded but they are
very infrequent and they’re not intentional.”
This is the first time sharks, rays and chimeras (fish with cartilage
in place of bones) have been assessed for the Edge (Evolutionarily
Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence programme.
Most sharks are at the top of the food chain, which makes them
crucial to the health of the oceans.
Losing them would have a big impact on other fish populations
and, ultimately, human livelihoods.
“They have very few relatives on the tree of life, so they are very unique
and losing them will actually represent a big, big loss,” said Fran
The assessment found fishing, both targeted and accidental, was
to blame for the steep decline in many of these populations, together
with habitat loss due to coastal development, degradation of mangrove
forests, water pollution and trawling.
“The Edge sharks and rays list comprises some of the most interesting
and unique fish we have on this planet,” said Dr. Matthew Gollock, of
ZSL. “The modern extinction of a single species from this list would
cause the loss of millions of years of evolutionary history,” the BBC
Source: Oman News Agency