Feb 1

Species name: shortfin mako

Nominated by: The Shark Trust

IUCN Red List classification: Vulnerable; Critically Endangered – Mediterranean

What is so special about your species?

Sleek and fast, the shortfin mako is capable of reaching speeds of over 30mph, making it the fastest shark in the world. On top of this, it has the power to leap clean out of the water, reaching heights of 9m. Its high-spec finish of brilliant metallic blue on top and clean, crisp white underneath would impress any car designer. The shortfin mako really is the supercar of the shark world. Despite these impressive features, this species is highly vulnerable. Reaching lengths of nearly 4m, this large pelagic shark matures late (18 years), is long lived (32 years) and produces just 4 – 25 pups after a lengthy pregnancy with a 2 – 3 year cycle.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

Retained for their meat and fins, the shortfin mako is a valued bycatch species that has been subjected to decades of unregulated fishing. Extensive fishing coupled with their low reproductive rate has led to the severe depletion of the North Atlantic population which is now close to collapse. Even a prohibition on retention would leave just a 54% chance of population recovery by 2040.

It is a pivotal time for the shortfin mako. With the EU taking the lion’s share of this fishery, it is essential to implement the necessary measures to secure the future of this vulnerable species.

What can people do to help your species?

The Shark Trust’s No Limits? campaign to stop uncontrolled shark fishing, turned its attention to the shortfin mako in 2017 by launching the Mako’ver to highlight the vulnerability of this species. To date, over 168,000 signatures of support have been collected through petitions and these have been presented to the EU Commission. As part of the Shark League coalition, the Shark Trust works with Shark Advocates International, Project Aware and Ecology Action Centre to advocate for the implementation of catch limits, including measures to stop overfishing of shortfin mako in the Atlantic. With Atlantic fishing nations now required to release live caught shortfin mako in the North Atlantic, there is a real chance to safeguard the future of this spectacular species.

Join us by causing a stir on social media and use #MakeTimeForMakos #NoLimits #NoLimitsNoFuture #Makover to bring light to the plight of this speedy shark. Keep your eyes peeled for campaign updates arising in 2018!

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Feb 1

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.

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Sep 29

Thirteen ocean creatures have surfaced all around Bristol’s BS5 postcode, snapped by some of the world’s very best wildlife photographers. To prove how turtle-y awesome they all are, we’ve created blogs on all of the featured species sharing ten epic facts about them! Sail your way around the exhibition by downloading your very own map and guide.

1) Sharks have been around for about 400 million years, long before dinosaurs even existed. They have survived five mass extinction events! Just keep swimming just keep swimming…

2) There are 355 confirmed species of shark, ranging in length from 15cm to 15m. Talk about little and large!

3) Hammerhead sharks are famous for their strange heads, which are actually designed to make them better hunters. The electrical sensors the sharks use to pinpoint their prey are spread out further, giving them much better prey detection skills.


4) Mako sharks are the fastest shark species in the ocean – these toothy torpedos can swim at speeds of up to 95km/h!

5) Lantern sharks can glow to disguise themselves in the deep ocean, and will emitting the same amount of light that shines from the ocean’s surface above them from their underside so that they don’t create a shadow. Basically, they have stealth mode – awesome!

6) Thresher sharks can use their super long tail fins to stun prey, similar to cracking them with a whip. The tail-whip also creates bubbles which can stun prey.


7) The babies of some shark species, such as the sand tiger shark, develop teeth in the womb and eat their unborn siblings. Sibling rivalry or what?!

8) A shark may go through over 20,000 teeth throughout its lifetime. The great white shark has up to 7 rows of teeth which are continually replaced with new ones.. yikes. Say cheese!


9) Greenland sharks are Earth’s longest-living vertebrates. Researchers recently discovered a 400-year old female by using radiocarbon dating.

10) A lot of people rightly avoid eating sharks, so fish markets and chefs change the name of shark meat to rock salmon, rock eel, huss or flake. Always make sure you know what you’re eating!

Jan 27

#LoveSpecies nominee: pelagic thresher

Nominated by: Sharks4Kids

Why do you love it?

The pelagic thresher has a tail that can be as long as the body itself. It uses this tail to stun prey, which has earned them the nickname “ninja shark.” This amazing adaptation makes this animal truly unique.

What are the threats to pelagic thresher?

This shark is listed as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and the population is decreasing. They are targeted by commercial fisheries for their fins, meat, liver oil and skin. They are also caught as bycatch on tuna longlines. It is estimated that thresher shark fins make up 2-3% of the fins auctioned off in Hong Kong markets.

What are you doing to save it? Our team does not work directly with these sharks, but we are working to spread education and awareness about the species to students around the world. We are promoting the addition of all 3 species of thresher shark to the CITES Appendix II listing. We have also introduced a new

Our team does not work directly with these sharks, but we are working to spread education and awareness about the species to students around the world. We are promoting the addition of all 3 species of thresher shark to the CITES Appendix II listing. We have also introduced a new colouring fact sheeting to get students excited about this species.

VOTE NOW!

Jan 27

#LoveSpecies nominee: silky shark

Nominated by: Project AWARE

Why do you love it?

It may not be as well-known as its hammerhead, great white or oceanic whitetip cousins but the silky shark is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent! This streamlined and sleek ocean predator gets its name from its exceptionally smooth skin and metallic tone.

Project AWARE® has always had a lot of love for this shark but in 2016 we fell head over heels. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP17) was firmly on our agenda. Project AWARE rallied support from the global dive community and engaged with relevant governments to urge member signatories to protect the silky shark and other commercially valuable shark and ray species from the devastating effects of unregulated international trade. Together with our shark conservation partners, including Shark Advocates International and the Shark Trust, we delivered strong science-based arguments in support of international trade controls for the silky shark. And we celebrated, as proposals for the silky shark and other shark and ray species to be listed on CITES Appendix II were successfully adopted.

What are the threats to the silky shark?

This highly migratory, low productivity shark is at risk from substantial incidental take in high seas fisheries. Due to its beautifully marked skin, the silky shark is a popular target for the shark leather trade. Like many other sharks, it is also fished for its fins, meat and liver oil.

Silky sharks are among the shark species most commonly captured in pelagic longline and purse seine gear set primarily for tunas; the associated mortality is the primary threat to silky shark populations. They are vulnerable to overfishing due to slow growth, late maturity, lengthy gestation, and few young.

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and ranked among the top three most important sharks in the global fin trade, the silky shark truly deserves all our love and attention.

What are you doing to save it?

In our work to end overexploitation of sharks and rays, Project AWARE advocates for national, regional, and global conservation actions that limit catch based on science and the precautionary approach, and we advocate for the end of at-sea removal of fins. We inform, inspire and empower shark advocates to become shark defenders and use our powerful and collective voice to influence change for the most vulnerable shark and ray species.

In 2017, we encourage our community to be an agent of positive change for the ocean. We believe we can create a global culture that nurtures and sustains a thriving, vibrant ocean.

Find out about the many ways that Project AWARE help sharks and other marine creatures, and how you can help on their website.

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