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Sea turtles are among the most threatened marine species (ICUN/Ryan Cloutier)

Turtles and sharks among most endangered marine species

13th December 2011

If you've ever dreamed of diving with sea turtles, or hammerhead sharks, go while you have the chance, as marine species face growing threats to their survival

A study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and Simon Fraser University has found that marine species such as turtles and sharks are most in danger of extinction, with hunting and fishing posing the greatest threat to their survival.

The team of marine scientists that conducted the study were inspired by the 2003 Disney/Pixar animated film Finding Nemo. They analysed extinctions risks and reviewed successful conservation programmes for clown-fish, and 1,500 other marine species related to characters in the film.

The study found that all species of marine turtles, more than half of all hammerhead sharks, mackerel sharks and eagle rays are the most threatened. Seahorses were found to be the most threatened group of bony fish, with two in five species at risk of extinction.

According to the ICUN, trade regulations in terms of endangered marine species is severely insufficient, and sharks and rays lack the needed protection against international trade, compared to all other groups. Fewer than one in ten species of threatened sharks and rays considered in the study were protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

Research also found that there is a shortfall in ocean management, marine conservation and general lack of data in some cases concerning small species, that could face local and regional extinction without the conservation community being aware.

So if you have ever dreamed of seeing loggerhead turtles in their natural environment, or swimming side by side with hammerhead sharks and eagle rays, now is the time to go. There are plenty of locations around the world where you can get up close and personal with these underwater creatures, so don your mask and fins, and dive right in.

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 Your Comments (1)

  • 13th December by JanieB

    I was lucky enough to see
    both turtles and sharks while snorkelling in Bonaire, last month. As recommended by the MyWanderlust site. One of the biggest
    dangers to sea turtles is plastic b


    ags. They think they are jellyfish
    and eat them.


    Report as inappropriate

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