Populations of sharks and rays have drastically declined world-wide due to massive over-exploitation. As sharks and rays play a vital ecological role as top predators in the marine environment, they deserve our protection. In particular, to maintain healthy oceans and fishing resources for future generations and for the wellbeing of many local fishing communities.
The availability of accurate scientific data is crucial in order to set foundations for conservation plans as well as policies and management measures that will ensure appropriate actions are taken for the protection of threatened shark species.
In February 2017, a Regional Red List workshop was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, aimed to identify the species of chondrichthyans that are threatened with extinction in the Arabian Seas Region (ASR). One of the main results of the workshop was the scientific report (below), which indicated: 184 species of sharks, rays and chimaeras occur in the ASR. 153 species of these 184 species were considered in the Red List workshop which covers the following geographic: Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf. This region comprises some of the largest and most important chondrichthyans fishing nations in the world including India and Pakistan.
The report indicates that 50.9% (87 species) of the 153 assessed chondrichthyans species are considered threatened within the ASR (9.2% are Critically Endangered, 3 species had not been recorded in the region for at least three decades, 22.2% are Endangered, 19.6% are Vulnerable, 17.6% are Near Threatened, 12.4% are Least Concern, 19% are Data Deficient. The ASR is the home to some of the most threatened chondrichthyans populations in the world.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare was one of the five supporters of this workshop and the preparation of this report; other supporters included the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Shark Specialist Group, Save Our Seas Foundation, and the CMS-SHARKS MoU.
Article source: IFAW