Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

Blog

Published on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Protection for Endangered Sharks

[PROGRESS]

New Protection for Endangered Sharks

Protection is good. Thanks to a new conservation pact signed by multiple countries, whale sharks, known scientifically as Rhincodon typus, are now protected in any open waters for which they migrate to. Although they generally migrate in warm and temperate waters, the diaspora of a whale shark can be somewhat difficult to determine. Whale sharks are shy by nature. As such, their migration efforts are a bit ambiguous and not fully understood today. It is for this reason that they are now being protected, as the scientific community wants to understand these beautiful creatures more. Among the many countries making a commitment to the protection of whale sharks from hunting activity are Peru, Mozambique, and Tanzania.


Once considered vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, whale sharks were recently upgraded to the endangered status which largely contributed to the newly signed pact. In 2011, former U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act. It is illegal to hunt or catch a whale shark in U.S. waters.


What The New Protection Means

Whale sharks are among the most hunted fish in the world. As they enjoy migration in many waters, they are an easy target for hunters. The new protection in place protects them from being hunted in and around various waters and also protects their migration efforts.


Scientists have long tried to fathom the migration of whale sharks. Through tagging, it has been determined that while coming together in groups for feedings, whale sharks generally stay far from being spotted especially in the winter and spring months. For hunters, this is the thrill of the sport. If a whale shark or group of whale sharks come out for a feeding frenzy, they can easily be monetized. With new provisions in place, even when spotted, hunters must refrain from killing or otherwise injuring the animal, lest international laws prevail.  


Fishermen who hunt tuna for example are also placed under these new laws. Whale sharks feed in an odd fashion, opening their massive jaws wide and gulping virtually everything in sight as they roam about near the ocean’s surface. When fishermen hunt tuna, they use FAD, a man-made device that attracts fish to a specific area. Tuna are known for being attracted to whale sharks in a similar fashion and will often swim underneath a whale shark. Fishermen noticed this attraction and modified FAD devices to not only catch the tuna, but the whale fish too. The new pact would virtually make such practices obsolete. Additionally, all fisheries which use widescale netting and other FAD practices must now be cognizant of inadvertently catching whale sharks too.


The Commodity of Whale Sharks

Whale sharks have no real threat other than man. Known for their docile nature, the largest fish in the ocean as an adult can weigh up to 20 tons or 41,000lbs and can get as long as a school bus. Not too many other fish in the ocean can put up a fight against a mammoth like that. And yet, each year they are feverishly hunted in ruthless fashion. The oil from the giant shark’s liver is one target which in turn is sold and used for oil supplements. Additionally, their meat and fins are used in cuisines and their skin is often used to manufacture clothing or accessories.


In 2014, a non-governmental agency conducted a report which exposed factories in China that hunt and sell upwards of 600 whale sharks a year. This was alarming to say the least given that the country has international laws in place protecting the elusive species. While some of the sharks migrate into Chinese waters from places as far away as Indonesia or Mexico, the conversation pact means it won’t matter what waters they come from: hunting them is strictly prohibited.


Today’s Whale Shark

Sadly, the whale shark has decreased in population and their numbers are in the thousands. Their lifespan is similar to that of humans -- 60-100 years. That means reproduction most commonly occurs between the ages of 25-30 years. They are hunted well before this age however, reducing the possibility of mating and decreasing their population. Much of this of course is speculation since very little is known about the mating process. What we do know is they play an important role in our ecosystem. As mentioned previously, whale sharks when feeding extend their jaws wide and eat much of what is in sight. This is actually good for the ocean, as it is very likely they eliminate weak species and assist in the conservation of the food chain within ocean waters. In a nutshell, whale sharks are top predators, meaning they don’t have other predators who prey upon them and they help to keep the population of smaller fish in check.


If these magnificent creatures’ population is compromised, we may never know the full extent of their capabilities and their worth to the oceans of the earth.



Rate this article:
No rating
Comments ()Number of views (241)

Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Animals & Wildlife

Tags:

Print

Search Jobs

Calender

«January 2018»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25
1779

Climate Change & The Poor: A Toxic Relationship

The impacts of climate change are undoubtedly affecting the world on a global scale. However, its effects are far more pronounced among the poor.

Read more
26
1780

Pre-Historic Ticks

Ticks are some of the most aggravating parasites today but they've been around for millions of years - even long enough to feed on the blood of dinosaurs.

Read more
27
1781

'The Cove' Nine Years Later

You may remember the uproar surrounding The Cove almost a decade ago. Today, the fishing community at the heart of the film has finally spoken up. 

Read more
28
1782

Saving A Life

Watch this amazing footage of the rescue of a drowned puppy and the ingenuity, persistence, and passion of the man who saved it.

Read more
29
1783

Winter Enviro-friendly Tips

This is the time of year for family, food, and holiday cheer. But it's also the season that produces the most waste. Here's how to get green over the holidays.

Read more
30
1784

A Mesmerizing Flock

Have a look at this visually hypnotizing footage of one of nature's most arresting phenomenons - the flight of the flock of starlings. A gorgeous sight to behold!

Read more
31
1785

The Controversy of Fracking

Fracking is in fact dangerous. Recent study proves that infants in areas surrounding fracking sites may suffer from permanent health effects and growth problems.

Read more
1
1786

An Unobstructed Look Inside The Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA has long stood as one of the most powerful defenders of the health and safety of the environment and safety standards. A lot has changed. 

Read more
2
1787

Master of Deception

Few living species can match the powers of deception and stealth quite like the amazing Zodrian spider - known for wearing the carcasses of their victims.

Read more
3
1788

The Digital Impact: Bitcoin's Carbon Footprint

Bitcoin is becoming one of the most quickly growing cryptocurrencies today. But this new form of payment is more costly for the environment than you may think. 

Read more
4
1789

Animals That Fit On Your Finger

There are few things as adorable and heartwarming as pint-sized pets. Here are just some of the most popular ones available today.

Read more
5
1790

Amazing Fungus Breaks Down Plastic Within a Few Weeks

No doubt about it, plastics are amazing. But they're also particularly bad for the environment as they're tough to break down. A new study has a solution - fungus. 

Read more
67
1791

Curious Bear Finds The Camera

Getting that perfect wildlife shot can be tough. That's why the BBC Earth team developed innovative spy cameras to catch each amazing moment, like the skiing cam. 

Read more
8
1792

Baby Sea Turtle Treadmills

Light pollution has become a serious problem of modern living. And for turtles, it's even worse. That's why scientists devised this unique and adorable experiment. 

Read more
9
1793

Consider This Before Your Next Virtual Shopping Trip

Online shopping has long been held in high regard as the more eco-friendly way to purchase. But e-commerce may actually be worse for our environment than you think.

Read more
10
1794

Traffic Stopped by Silverback Gorillas

Silverback gorillas are amazing and beautiful creatures to be sure. Watch as a troop is filmed literally stopping traffic crossing a crowded road. 

Read more
11
1795

China's Ivory Trade Ban: What It Means Going Forward

Elephant numbers have long been on the decline due to poaching for their tusks. But China's new ivory trade ban aims to curb that trend and protect these animals.

Read more
12
1796

Hungry Deer Meets Delicious Snowman

Tis the season for snowmen to start popping up on front lawns. But don't leave carrots out for too long or you might get a hungry wildlife visitor.

Read more
1314
1797

The Future of Power: Solar Windows

While solar technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, one innovation in the industry is set to change the way we collect power forever - solar windows. 

Read more
15
1798

Literally Swimming in Drugs

It's a tragedy that animals are trapped in our trash. But it's astounding that one turtle in particular was found wrapped up in over $53 million worth of cocaine.

Read more
16
1799

Whose Responsible for Your Dirty Water?

Clean drinking water is supposed to be a right of every citizen in the nation. However, this right is often violated - and it isn't getting any better.

Read more
17
1800

Global Warming & Cold Spells: What's the Connection?

When faced with bitter-cold weather, some people tend to think global warming isn't real. But in fact, global warming just may be the culprit behind dropping temps.

Read more
18
1801

Spiders: Ancient & Amazing

Spiders have been producing silk for literally hundreds of millions of years. Take a look at just why these creatures and the silk they produce are so amazing. 

Read more
19
1802

The Threat of Ocean Deoxygenation

We often hear of the widespread effects of pollution on the ocean and the life it holds. But there's another threat beneath the surface - ocean deoxygenation.

Read more
2021
22
1803

The Sun: An Introduction

The Sun is literally the source of life for everything on the planet earth. But what is that giant ball of light in the sky really? How does it work?

Read more
232425262728
2930311234

Category

    Help Us Go Green
      
    Help Us Go Green