7 February 2014 (mongabay.com) – Last month scientists released a study warning that one quarter of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.
The research, published in the open-access journal eLife on January 21, was the result of collaboration between 300 scientists from 64 countries. It concluded that overfishing is the biggest threat to the most number of species, noting that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins alone.
"Fins, in particular, have become one of the most valuable seafood commodities," the authors write, "It is estimated that the fins of between 26 and 73 million individuals, worth US$400-550 million, are traded each year."
The study found that large, shallow-dwelling species are most likely to be at risk, while five out of the seven most threatened chondrichthyan families are rays.
"Overall chondrichthyan extinction risk is substantially higher than for most other vertebrates, and only one-third of species are considered safe," concluded the study.