2 Nov 2012

Study shows sharp decline in Pacific shark numbers

4:02 pm on 2 November 2012

A comprehensive study has revealed a decline in Pacific shark populations.

The research shows significant declines in catch rates for blue, mako, and oceanic whitetip sharks, as well as declining average sizes of oceanic whitetip and silky sharks.

Dr Shelley Clarke of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says their findings reveals an alarming decline of 17 percent per year in populations of the oceanic whitetip shark, a species highly valued for its fins.

She says she was also shocked by the significant drop in blue sharks.

"But what we found is that even that shark which is very abundant and very productive was declining at rates of five percent per year, so that shows even the most productive of sharks is not immune to fishing pressure."

Dr Shelley Clarke says the assessment, which was made over a year, has been published in the journal Conservation Biology.