Are rays the new sharks in terms of conservation urgency?
According to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group (SSG), ray species are at a higher risk than sharks. Through a first ever global study of extinction risk according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ criteria, the SSG estimates a quarter of the world’s sharks and rays threatened with extinction. Of the 1,041 species assessed, 107 rays and 74 sharks are classified as threatened. Widespread public awareness, media attention, and protection policies tend to focus on sharks, yet rays make up five out of the seven most threatened families of cartilaginous fishes.
Because they grow slowly and produce few young, both sharks and rays are exceptionally susceptible to overexploitation – including overfishing from targeted fishing, bycatch and finning. Healthy shark and ray populations are priceless. Threats loom large for many species, but Project AWARE asserts that ‘Extinction is not an option’!
Thanks to your support, Project AWARE has helped support many significant protections for both sharks and rays but we need your continued support to keep up the pressure for their protection. Visit projectaware.org to donate and take action today.