Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays

Sherman, C. Samantha, Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Pacoureau, Nathan, Matsushiba, Jay H., Yan, Helen F., Walls, Rachel H.L., Rigby, Cassandra L., Vanderwright, Wade J., Jabado, Rima W., Pollom, Riley A., Carlson, John K., Charvet, Patricia, Bin Ali, Ahmad, Fahmi, , Cheok, Jessica, Derrick, Danielle H., Herman, Katelyn B., Finucci, Brittany, Eddy, Tyler D., Palomares, Maria Lourdes D., Avalos-Castillo, Christopher G., Kinattumkara, Bineesh, Blanco-Parra, María del Pilar, Dharmadi, , Espinoza, Mario, Fernando, Daniel, Haque, Alifa B., Mejía-Falla, Paola A., Navia, Andrés F., Pérez-Jiménez, Juan Carlos, Utzurrum, Jean, Yuneni, Ranny R., and Dulvy, Nicholas K. (2023) Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays. Nature Communications, 14. 15.

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Abstract

Sharks and rays are key functional components of coral reef ecosystems, yet many populations of a few species exhibit signs of depletion and local extinctions. The question is whether these declines forewarn of a global extinction crisis. We use IUCN Red List to quantify the status, trajectory, and threats to all coral reef sharks and rays worldwide. Here, we show that nearly two-thirds (59%) of the 134 coral-reef associated shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. Alongside marine mammals, sharks and rays are among the most threatened groups found on coral reefs. Overfishing is the main cause of elevated extinction risk, compounded by climate change and habitat degradation. Risk is greatest for species that are larger-bodied (less resilient and higher trophic level), widely distributed across several national jurisdictions (subject to a patchwork of management), and in nations with greater fishing pressure and weaker governance. Population declines have occurred over more than half a century, with greatest declines prior to 2005. Immediate action through local protections, combined with broad-scale fisheries management and Marine Protected Areas, is required to avoid extinctions and the loss of critical ecosystem function condemning reefs to a loss of shark and ray biodiversity and ecosystem services, limiting livelihoods and food security.

Item ID: 78292
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Research Data: https://github.com/sammsherman27/CoralReefSharkRayIUCN, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7267904
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2023 01:15
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 40%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300502 Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 50%
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1003 Fisheries - wild caught > 100305 Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna) @ 50%
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