Shark-researchers could be causing abortions

archive – Diving News

Shark-researchers could be causing abortions

Well-meaning marine biologists could unwittingly be as complicit as fishers in contributing to depletion of shark and ray populations. The startling conclusion comes from a scientific report from University of Wollongong's School of Biological Sciences in Australia.

Pregnant female sharks and rays are likely to abort their offspring when captured in nets or on fishing-lines, say the scientists in a study published in the Biological Conservation journal. 

They undertook what they say is the first synthesis of existing scientific data to find that premature births or abortions were common side-effects when sharks were caught, with an average of 24% of pregnant females losing their offspring when captured.

The researchers found instances of this happening across 88 different shark and ray species, including endangered and protected species, with some more susceptible than others.

They claimed that many marine biologists were unaware of the issue, and the fact that they too could be inducing abortions when capturing sharks and rays for tagging or study.

Lead author of the report Kye Adams advised that if anyone catching a shark suspected from its girth that it was pregnant it should be left in the water and handling-time minimised accordingly.

He also suggested that bans could be imposed on fishing around nursery areas, especially where endangered species were under threat.

The report can be viewed here.

Divernet – The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers



Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Divernet Posts

Do you need to be fit to dive?

Do you need to be fit to dive?

Adventurer, technical diver, stuntman, climber and all-round Action Man Andy Torbet knows a thing or two about keeping fit. Here he gives some basic advice to help us all get back into shape for when we can hit the water again.

Ship shape

The skipper promised me a wreck, so it must be down here somewhere. If the vis was better, I might even be able to see it.

Things fall apart

I can’t quite understand it. How did that happen? Every item of my scuba kit was fine when I put it away.

Free and squeezy

Freediving – it’s basically snorkelling with good PR. It involves holding your breath, often to the point of semi-suffocation. What’s so free about that?

Follow Divenet on Social Media