Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eastern North Pacific basking shark a 'species of concern'

Date:
September 8, 2010
Source:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Summary:
NOAA's Fisheries Service has designated the eastern North Pacific basking shark, a "species of concern" because it has suffered a dramatic decline in population despite decreasing fishing pressure. The label "species of concern" may be given to a species when there are concerns regarding the population status.

A basking sharks feeds in the Irish Sea off the Isle of Man.
Credit: Dr. Greg Skomal

NOAA's Fisheries Service has designated the eastern North Pacific basking shark, a "species of concern" because it has suffered a dramatic decline in population despite decreasing fishing pressure. The label "species of concern" may be given to a species when there are concerns regarding the population status.

The eastern Pacific basking shark is not being considered for listing pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, rather it is a species of concern because it has been over fished and its population has apparently not responded to conservation measures implemented to address fishing pressure. We expect that by identifying it as a species of concern we will raise public awareness of the species status, generate interest in additional research to identify factors that may be inhibiting its recovery and, with states and other partners, restore this population before listing under the ESA becomes necessary.

Basking sharks are filter feeders that exist throughout the world's oceans from the tropics to the Arctic, although they are most commonly found in temperate coastal waters where currents converge and plankton, their main food source, concentrate. The eastern North Pacific population of basking sharks is thought to be a single group that migrates seasonally along the West Coast from Canada to Central California.

Until the 1950s, commercial fishermen in California targeted the sharks primarily for fishmeal and fish oil, and Canadian fishermen targeted them until the 1970s, in response to an eradication program that sought to reduce interactions between the sharks and salmon fishing nets. Although there has been no commercial fishing pressure for decades, scientists are worried about the eastern North Pacific population of basking sharks, whose numbers have not rebounded. While hundreds, and even thousands, of fish were once observed together, no group larger than three has been reported seen since 1993.

The species is also still vulnerable to human impacts even though it is no longer actively targeted in the United States and Canada. Fishermen may inadvertently catch the shark while fishing for another species, or it may become entangled in commercial fishing gear or hit by vessels as it feeds near the surface.

In U.S. federal waters of the Pacific, sharks caught incidentally must be released immediately, and the state of California has likewise banned the retention of basking sharks. In Canada, the Species at Risk Act makes it illegal to take, harass, or destroy habitat for basking sharks there. The species is also listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as endangered. Basking sharks may still be caught in some countries where they command a high price for their fins in shark fin soup.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Eastern North Pacific basking shark a 'species of concern'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094805.htm>.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. (2010, September 8). Eastern North Pacific basking shark a 'species of concern'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094805.htm
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Eastern North Pacific basking shark a 'species of concern'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094805.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins