Shark Populations Decline In Queensland: What Does It Mean For The Reefs?

When a shark bite happens, many people jump to the conclusion that shark populations are exploding. However, according to new research published in the journal Communications Biology, coastal shark numbers of the east coast of Australia have been in decline for the past 55 years. If that wasn’t bad news, then you may think this is: those declining populations show little sign of recovery.

According to an analysis of Queensland Shark Control Program data, researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and Griffith University have found that there are consistent and widespread declines of top-level sharks. The scientists looked at historical records of shark captures to investigate the changes in the number and sizes of sharks over the past half-century.

UQ School of Biological Sciences Dr. George Roff told the UQ news, “What we found is that large apex sharks such as hammerheads, tigers and white sharks, have declined by 74 to 92 percent along Queensland’s coast. And the chance of zero catch – catching no sharks at any given beach per year – has increased by as much as seven-fold.”

Many shark populations worldwide have considerably declined in recent decades, and a quarter of the world's sharks and rays are threatened with extinction according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

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