Reef sharks are in major decline worldwide
In the biggest study of its kind, scientists found an absence of sharks that live near coral reefs in 58 countries. But there is hope.
In a sweeping survey of 371 reefs across 58 countries, from the Central Pacific to the Bahamas, scientists discovered that about 20 percent were devoid of sharks. As essential apex predators, sharks help keep fish populations healthy by eating sick individuals and preventing prey numbers from exploding.
Some of the reefs with the most depleted shark numbers were closer to human populations, such as Qatar, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Guam.
The research, published today in Nature and part of the Global FinPrint Project, “is the largest reef shark study ever,” says study co-author Enric Sala, a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence.
“Having dived in hundreds of places around the world, from pristine to degraded, it was no surprise