Tagged IUCN

Butchering of whale shark under investigation

WARNING: Article links feature images of a whale shark being butchered.

The butchering of a whale shark in Johor, Malaysia (first reported in Whale shark caught and hacked into pieces in Johor) is now being investigated Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who are working with Reefcheck Malaysia and other Malaysian groups who would like the incident to be officially reported, according to the article, Conservation group: Killing whale shark is illegal. According to the article, an unidentified member of Sea Shepherd stated that the incident depicted in the original article is "actually a criminal offense by Malaysian law." The statement was made in an email reportedly sent by the member of Sea Shepherd.

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are listed as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.

Researchers track a REALLY big bull shark in South Africa

A recent Independent Online article does a great job of objectively covering a research study on a 4m (13′) female bull (or Zambezi) shark, who was “caught, measured and then released and tracked,” in the estuary of the Breede River, which feeds into St Sebastian Bay at Witsand in South Africa.

Researchers believed the shark to be pregnant and concluded that the estuary could be a “nursery” for the species. The researchers also found that the bull shark “spent a considerable amount of its time investigating both shore and boat anglers up and down the river, as well as cast-netters at the mouth of the estuary, and that it frequently swam into water less than 1.5m deep.”

The article mentions the decline in numbers of the species, including it’s ‘near-threatened’ status on the IUCN Red List. Overall, the article does is quite informative without any sensationalism, and it does a good job of address conservations issues.

Responsible reporting of shark news might be possible, after all

Fox News (if you’re politically-inclined to avoid Fox News, fear not, these segments are both generally politic-free) ran a couple of fairly responsible news segments focusing the IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature reporting that one-third of all sharks are threatened with extinction.

According to these segments, the deep-water open-ocean sharks are the most threatened (great white, great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, and mako are specifically mentioned in the report). The report identifies over-fishing, inadvertent netting of sharks, and illegal finning as reasons for the decline in shark numbers. Both segments make a point of informing the viewer that without sharks as a top-predator, entire marine ecosystems can die off. Both segments feature Phil Keating reporting from New Smyrna Beach, which seems a bit overplayed, considering that New Smyrna has been dubbed the “Shark Attack Capital of the World.” However, the overall theme of the segments does seem to be headed in the right direction when it comes to informing the audience about the serious threat to shark populations and the effect these losses can have on ocean life, in general.
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