The release of the first ever IUCN Red ListTM assessment of all 116 species in the region reveals that 26% are Threatened with extinction, and another 20% are in the Near Threatened category.
The total number of threatened species may well be underestimated as there was insufficient information to assess over a quarter of the species.
“From angel sharks to devil rays, Northeast Atlantic populations of these vulnerable species are in serious trouble, more so than in many other parts of the world,” says lead author Claudine Gibson.
“Most sharks and rays are exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing because of their tendency to grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young... “Those at greatest risk of extinction in the Northeast Atlantic include heavily fished, large sharks and rays, like porbeagle and common skate, as well as commercially valuable deepwater sharks and spiny dogfish.”
The report, designed and produced by NatureBureau for the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, is the result of a regional workshop to evaluate the status of the Northeast Atlantic’s “chondrichthyan” species using IUCN Red List Categories and CriteriaTM.
The findings reveal that the percentage of shark, ray and chimaera species classified as Threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable) in the Northeast Atlantic is significantly higher than for the same statistic globally (26% v. 18%). Specifically, 7% of species in the Northeast Atlantic are classified as Critically Endangered, 7% as Endangered, and 12% as Vulnerable, primarily due to overfishing.
The Conservation Status of Northeast Atlantic Chondrichthyans: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Northeast Atlantic Regional Red List Workshop.
Compiled and edited by Claudine Gibson, Sarah Valenti, Sarah Fowler and Sonja Fordham.