Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays

Pacoureau, Nathan, Rigby, Cassandra L., Kyne, Peter M., Sherley, Richard B., Winker, Henning, Carlson, John K., Fordham, Sonja V., Barreto, Rodrigo, Fernando, Daniel, Francis, Malcolm P., Jabado, Rima W., Herman, Katelyn B., Liu, Kwang-Ming, Marshall, Andrea D., Pollom, Riley A., Romanov, Evgeny V., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Yin, Jamie S., Kindsvater, Holly K., and Dulvy, Nicholas K. (2021) Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays. Nature, 589. pp. 567-571.

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Abstract

Overfishing is the primary cause of marine defaunation, yet declines in and increasing extinction risks of individual species are difficult to measure, particularly for the largest predators found in the high seas. Here we calculate two well-established indicators to track progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals: the Living Planet Index (a measure of changes in abundance aggregated from 57 abundance time-series datasets for 18 oceanic shark and ray species) and the Red List Index (a measure of change in extinction risk calculated for all 31 oceanic species of sharks and rays). We find that, since 1970, the global abundance of oceanic sharks and rays has declined by 71% owing to an 18-fold increase in relative fishing pressure. This depletion has increased the global extinction risk to the point at which three-quarters of the species comprising this functionally important assemblage are threatened with extinction. Strict prohibitions and precautionary science-based catch limits are urgently needed to avert population collapse, avoid the disruption of ecological functions and promote species recovery.

Item ID: 66938
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1476-4687
Copyright Information: © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
Funders: Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Shark Conservation Fund (RPA-SCF), National Science Foundation (NSF), Australian Government National Environmental Science Program (AGNESP), Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Government of Canada (GoC)
Projects and Grants: RPA-SCF Global Shark Trends Project, NSF grant DEB-1556779, AGNESP Marine Biodiversity Hub, NSERC Discovery and Accelerator Awards, GoC Canada Research Chairs Program
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2021 01:33
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300502 Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1003 Fisheries - wild caught > 100305 Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna) @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 50%
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