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Coastal Crisis: 31% of Sharks Under Threat

Updated: May 13

The conservation status of sharks and rays living in coastal continental shelves is alarming, with around 31% of the total known species facing the threat of extinction. This includes all types of sharks and rays found in these areas, such as reef sharks, which are vital for maintaining the health and balance of coral reef ecosystems.

manta ray in the sea
Photo by Tomas Kotouc

The notable proportion of endangered species underscores the potential threat to the diversity and ecological equilibrium within coastal marine environments. Sharks and rays occupy pivotal positions in marine food chains and ecosystem functions. Their diminishing populations could lead to extensive repercussions for marine ecosystems, impacting not only the vitality of marine life but also the services they offer to both oceanic organisms and human communities.

Sharks, as apex predators, help regulate prey populations and maintain the health of marine ecosystems by controlling the balance of species within their habitats.  Their decline could disrupt these intricate ecological relationships, leading to cascading effects throughout marine ecosystems. For instance, overpopulation of prey species due to the absence of predators could result in habitat degradation or depletion of resources vital for other marine organisms.

a shark swimming with a school of fish
Sharks play a pivotal role in ecosystems

Additionally, alterations in ecosystem dynamics could affect fisheries, coastal economies, and even human food security, as many communities rely on marine resources for sustenance and livelihoods.

Therefore, preserving and restoring the populations of sharks and rays is not only essential for the health and resilience of marine ecosystems but also crucial for maintaining the well-being and sustainability of human societies that depend on these ecosystems for various resources and services.

Addressing these threats requires collaborative efforts at various levels, including implementing conservation measures, sustainable fisheries management practices, habitat protection initiatives, and community engagement programs.

Urgent action is needed to protect and conserve sharks and rays inhabiting coastal continental shelves to ensure the health and resilience of marine ecosystems and the well-being of human societies that depend on them.

Shark Guardian is dedicated to safeguarding sharks and their environments, relying entirely on donations. Your support is crucial to our mission. Please assist us in our efforts.



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