Species name: blue shark
Nominated by: Hector the Blue Shark
(official spokeshark for the Ecology Action Centre)
IUCN Red List classification: Near Threatened
What is so special about your species?
Blue sharks are sleek and streamlined, zipping through the water, crossing entire oceans. As they zip around, blue sharks use proton filled jelly in their heads to detect electrical fields generated by other fish and animals in the water – even miles away. And, of course, they have unique super cool, blue tinted skin making them very recognizable.
What are the threats to this species in the wild?
Blue sharks are the most heavily fished shark in the world caught in many types of fisheries throughout our oceans with estimates ranging from 15-20 million caught every year. The fins of blue sharks make up the largest percentage of the global fin trade and the number of blue sharks being landed continues to rise in many areas. These amounts don’t even capture the tens of thousands of blue sharks that are hooked and cut off lines while at sea because they are unwanted catch. With some regions seeing upwards of 30% declines in population, there are increasing concerns about blue sharks and whether they can continue to withstand this amount of fishing.
Unfortunately, despite their amazingness and their important role as a widely distributed apex predator, the blue shark is often considered a pest by fishers trying to catch other more valuable species. They remain unloved and underappreciated and, as such, there are almost no limits on how many blue sharks can be caught by fisheries nor fishing controls in place that would ensure the blue shark remains throughout our oceans in the future. Ignoring proper management and conservation for such an ecologically important species, especially one so heavily impacted by human activities, should no longer be acceptable in 2018, .
What can people do to help your species?
Follow Hector the Blue Shark, the most famous blue spokeshark, in his work with friends at the Ecology Action Centre to get science-based, strict fishing limits in place for him and his blue shark kin around the world. Supporting an organization with dedicated experts that work with fisheries managers, conservationists, researchers, and governments is one of the best ways people can help blue sharks and other sharks and rays. It takes years of work and dedication to move conservation forward for these animals and organizations need your support!
The Ecology Action Centre together with partners Project Aware, Shark Trust, and Sharks Advocates International are SLAM, the Shark League of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, working for groundbreaking conservation at the international level for sharks, rays, and skates.