Science News

Shark Selfies: Scientists Use Baited Underwater Cameras To Count Sharks

Scientists are delving into new territory with baited underwater cameras in their first-ever attempt to count the world’s sharks, researchers said Tuesday.

Four hundred cameras with bait attached will be sent underwater at reefs worldwide for the project, named The Global FinPrint. Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. is investing four million dollars into the project, reports Discovery News.

“We don’t have the data we need to accurately assess the current population status for almost half of shark and ray species,” said Dune Ives, senior director of philanthropy at Vulcan Inc.

A recent International Union for the Conservation of Nature report indicated that we don’t have the data we need to accurately assess the current population status for almost half of shark and ray species. This information will help inform more effective conservation efforts.

In addition to sharks and rays, fish will also be counted in the study as well as the size and maturity of the animals, reports The Guardian.

Dr. Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said that sharks were chosen for the study because they are “uniquely vulnerable” to human pressures. Female sharks give birth far less than fish, and their pups take longer to reach maturity.

As the apex predators in the marine environment, their very presence regulates the food chain. “When you remove them, things go out of whack,” said Dr. Meekan.

An estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year, resulting in an elevated threat of extinction for a quarter of shark species. Meekan links the endangerment to the rise of the middleclass in China, where shark fin soup is considered a status of wealth.  “Better management of sharks and rays starts with better information about where and when they occur,” he said.

Better management of sharks and rays starts with better information about where and when they occur, so that we can target mitigation and protect the areas that are critical habitats.

The findings of the study will be published on a database with an open-access platform.

In an unrelated study, scientists discovered two species of sharks that are naturally buoyant.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - Get Important Content Like This Delivered Directly To You

Get important content and more delivered to you once or twice a week.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.