Sharks And Their Importance

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Humans are responsible for the slaughter of approximately 100 million sharks a year, by longlines, "sport" fishermen or by a murderous practise known as shark finning. Shark finning takes place at sea so the fishermen only have the fins to transport as the shark meat is lower value and is not worth the cost of transporting the bulky bodies. Hooked sharks are roughly hauled onto the boat; their fins hacked and sliced off while they are still alive. The defenseless sharks are then tossed back into the ocean, they slowly sink to the bottom and die an agonizing death, usually as they get eaten alive by other fish. This kind of brutal treatment of sharks is being tolerated all over the world and with 90% of the large shark population already wiped out, sharks are being depleted faster then they can reproduce. This puts a severe threat on marine ecosystems worldwide. Sharks play a vital role in the ecosystem, they have shaped marine life for 400 million years and are essential to the health of the planet, and ultimately to the survival of mankind. Sharks are known as apex predators, With fewer sharks around the species they prey on, such as cow nose rays have increased in numbers and in turn masses of cow nose rays are wiping out the bay scallops. This then has a large impact on the economy of local communities who rely on these scallops for a steady income. Peter Trott, who manages the fisheries program at the conservation organisation WWF Australia, says a decline in Australia's coastal sharks could have a similar effect on herbivorous fish. "With an explosion of numbers in rays they would just mow algae and weed down, so there's no habitat left for juvenile fish." "You'll also see an explosion of weak and sick fish, which isn't good for genetic

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