Over 10% of Australian shark species facing extinction: Report


Canberra, Sep 21 : More than 10 per cent of Australia's shark species are at risk of extinction, a government report revealed on Tuesday. The National Environmental Science Program (NESP) marine biodiversity hubpublished the first-ever complete assessment of extinction risk for all Australian sharks, rays and ghost sharks (chimaeras), reports Xinhua news agency. It found that Australia is home to more than a quarter of the world's cartilaginous fish species, with 182 sharks, 132 rays and 14 chimaeras calling Australian waterways home and that 12 per cent, or 39 spe cies, are facing extinction. Peter Kyne, a senior researcher from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and lead author of the report, said urgent action was needed. "While Australia's risk is considerably lower than the global level of 37 per cent, it does raise concern for the 39 Australian species assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction," he said in a media release. "Around Australia, many of our threatened sharks and rays are not commercially important so these are largely 'out of sight, out of mind', but they require protection at national, state and territory levels." He said that "there are positive signs" of protection and management working for some iconic species such as the White Shark and Grey Nurse Shark, although the assessment shows that these species "remain threatened". The landmark report found that Australian waters also act as a refuge for 45 species that are threatened in other parts of the world including the giant guitarfish. "But while we should celebrate the secure status of many species, we urgently need to increase our research and management efforts for Australia's threatened sharks and rays," Kyne said. Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) also contributed to the 442-page report. /IANS


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