Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Saving sharks? Save their nursing grounds!

Last year December, a study presented research results, that proved that female nurse sharks return ‘home’ to give birth. Scientists tracked lemon sharks, a highly migratory species, in the Bahamas for 17 years to prove the case, strengthening the argument for restrictions on fishing at specific sites. The team deployed nets and tagged, measured and took genetic samples from every lemon shark they captured and found that at least six females returned to give birth when they were between 14 and 17 years old. Dr. Kevin Feldheim stated: “It is possible that this occurs in other shark species”.

Schooling lemon sharks, picture by Tristan Guttridge

Lemon Sharks in Bimini, picture by Matt Potenski

It is therefore very important to protect the shark nursing grounds and not only to focus on fisheries management and catch reduction. 

Unfortunately, a long-term study reveals that the year mega-resort construction in Bimini deforested almost half a lagoon’s mangrove shorelines, the survival rate of newborn lemon sharks plummeted to only 26 per cent, a startling statistic was revealed during a presentation on the closing day of last week’s Bahamas Natural History Conference in Nassau.Marine biologist Dr Kristine Stump demonstrated that successive developers of the Bimini Bay project, currently operated by Resorts World Bimini, have failed to use mitigation measures such as silt curtains while dredging and filling, sending plumes of dangerous silt into the lagoon, an important nursery ground for sharks, conch and lobster.

 

Kristine Stump at work

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