Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Why tracking sharks (and other fish) is so important



In many countries, there are regulations to manage and protect shark populations. But apart fromjust  protecting a species in national waters, they need protection in all their habitats. But these have to be found first…

shark-trek-1411125b-02A study about migration of juvenile hammerheads was published on November 25th. In 2007, researchers tagged a young female hammerhead in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico. The female, likely about 3 years old based on her size, swam 2,082 miles (3,350 kilometers) over about 10.5 months. After her tagging, the shark stayed close to shore for 20 days. By early February, she began swimming northward along the coast, before venturing out into offshore waters and returning to La Paz Bay, where fisherman found her on Dec. 23, 2007. In Mexico, commercial fishing from large vessels is prohibited within 50 nautical miles of the coast.

But, based on the female hammerhead’s coastal and offshore-swimming routes, it’s clear that young hammerhead sharks need more protection, the researchers said.  Many similar studies have confirmed that sharks can travel long distances, and protection is needed throughout their whole habitat range.

Studying fishermen tactics and catch numbers may also help protect hammerheads, said Juan Carlos Pérez Jiménez, a professor of marine biology at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Campeche, Mexico, who was not involved with the study. “If you put the regulation, you need to know the behavior of fisherman,” Pérez Jiménez said. “How they act, how they use the fishing gear.”

And this applies to all (threatened) fish species in these days of overfishing!

Monitoring (over)fishing could help

Google has helped launch an ambitious project combining cloud computing, big data and satellite networks to monitor global fishing activity with an eye to curb overfishing.

Global Fishing Watch, formed with environmental groups Skytruth and Oceana, is described as the first global view of commercial fishing based on satellite data analysis. It’s intended to “give citizens a simple, online platform to visualize, track and share information about fishing activity worldwide.” And let us hope, this can be used to support conservation measures as well!


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