(ORDO NEWS) — Specialists of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) presented a map of shark habitats.
As apex predators, these inhabitants of the world’s oceans perform many vital functions to maintain a balanced ecosystem.
According to experts, the map shows areas where sharks are particularly vulnerable due to human activities.
These marine predators provide species diversity and even help the oceans absorb more carbon by supporting algal ecosystems. However, sharks’ higher status makes them more susceptible to human threats.
Sharks suffer from fishing, especially in tropical and coastal areas where large communities of people live along the coast and depend on fish as their main source of protein. A map of important shark and ray habitats is expected to help establish marine protected areas.
“Sharks are a long-lived species. They take a long time to reach sexual maturity. And then only a few babies are born. This makes them especially vulnerable.
The map will serve as a basis for policy development and ensure that planning is taken into account in areas critical to the survival of sharks,” said Dr. Rima Jabado, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Shark Team of Specialists.
Scientists have pieced together information from scientific publications, reports, databases and the experience of individual shark experts, according to the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
According to Lynn Sorrentino, program officer at the IUCN Ocean Group, the loss of sharks, as well as rays and chimeras, will not only affect the health of the entire ocean ecosystem, but also food security in many countries.
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