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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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ScienceShot: The Great Shark Massacre
1 March 2013 1:15 pm
Sharks have become the underdog of the oceans. They reproduce slowly and are being targeted for their fins and caught accidentally in the hunt for fish. Now, researchers have created the first global estimate of the carnage. By combining data from fisheries organizations and the scientific literature, the team reports in Marine Policy that 97 million sharks were killed in 2010 and perhaps as many as 273 million. "This is the best attempt, published to date, to bring together the available data to quantify fisheries impacts on sharks at a global scale," says John Musick, a shark expert at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point. The dire figure implies that more sharks are being taken than are born, jeopardizing their future. George Burgess of the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville points out that the calculation required numerous assumptions, including a single weight estimate for all sharks. Nevertheless, Burgess says, experts agree that sharks are in deep trouble. "It's just a matter of how bad off." The authors argue that sharks need stronger protections, such as the kind of international agreement that has protected whales, or restrictions to the trade of their fins and meat. Several such proposals will be considered this month as the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meets in Bangkok.
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