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Posted Thu Jun 25 2009: from
Sharks threatened with extinction
The first assessment of the global fortunes of 64 species of pelagic, or open ocean, sharks and rays found 32 per cent were under threat including the great white shark and basking shark. The study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) blamed tuna and swordfish fisheries that often catch sharks as accidental "by-catch". Sharks are also being increasingly targeted themselves to supply growing demand for shark meat and fins. The valuable fins are used for shark fin soup a delicacy in Asia. To supply the market the wasteful process of "finning" often takes place, in which the fins are cut off the shark and the rest of the body is thrown back into the sea. Bans on the practice have been introduced in most international waters but are seldom enforced according to Sonja Fordham, deputy chairwoman of the IUCN shark specialist group.
[Read more stories about: hunting to extinction, predator depletion]

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