Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sharks disappearing as fin chopping rises

Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:54am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Populations of tiger, bull, dusky and other sea sharks have plummeted by more than 95 percent since the 1970s as fisherman kill the animals for their fins or when they scoop other fish from the ocean, according to an expert from the World Conservation Union, or IUCN.

At particular risk is the scalloped hammerhead shark, whose young swim mostly in shallow waters along shores all over the world to avoid predators.

The scalloped hammerhead will be listed on the 2008 IUCN Red List as globally "endangered" due to overfishing and high demand for its valuable fins in the shark fin trade, said Julia Baum, a member of the IUCN's shark specialist group.

"As a result of high and mostly unrestricted fishing pressure, many sharks are now considered to be at risk of extinction," Baum said in a statement.

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