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In a paper recently published by the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, an international research team which includes CIBIO-InBIO researchers Nuno Queiroz, Gonzalo Mucientes SandovalFernando P. Lima, Lara Sousa and Rui Seabra has recently reported an 80% overlap in the ranges of commercial fishing vessels and oceanic shark species, like blue shark and mako shark, which places these species at a particularly high risk of overfishing.


Tens of millions of ocean-dwelling sharks are caught by fishing activities each year. Even though catch rates have declined significantly for many species, oceanic shark fishing remains largely unregulated. To find out the dimension of this problem, the team of researchers tracked shark species and commercial fishing ships, in order to measure how often these would cross in their oceanic routes. The team found out that sharks tend to cluster in areas with abundant food supplies, as most of the fishing vessels do. However, the scale of the overlap was surprising. Comparing the locations assessed, the team was able to perceive that about 80% of the sharks’ tracked range overlapped with the fishing vessels’ range.


According to Nuno Queiroz, first author of the study, an overlap at this scale potentially increases shark susceptibility to exploitation, which has unknown consequences for the populations’ integrity. These findings, now published by the prestigious scientific journal call urgent attention to the need to introduce catch quotas or size limits guidelines to protect oceanic sharks that are currently important to commercial fleets worldwide.



The acknowledgement of the impact of the findings made available by this study has led it to be highlighted in PNAS’ noteworthy section “In this Issue”.



To know more about this topic, please follow the links below:


"Cientistas preocupados com a preservação dos tubarões" | Primeiro Jornal - SIC | Fev 1, 2016 (Information available in Portuguese)


Tubarões estão muito vulneráveis à pesca no oceano Atlântico” | Público | Jan 27, 2016 (Information available in Portuguese)


"Pesca do tubarão no Atlântico precisa de quotas para combater risco de sobrepesca" | SIC Notícias | Jan 27, 2016 (Information available in Portuguese)


“Identificadas as zonas de maior risco de sobre pesca de tubarões” | Wilder | Jan 27, 2016 (Information Available in Portuguese)


How vulnerable are sharks to commercial fishing?” |Science Magazine| Jan 25 , 2016


To access the original press release for this study, please click here (Information available in Portuguese)


To read the original article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, please, click here.

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