Ocean News

New report on the status of sharks, rays and chimaeras in the Arabian Sea finds more than half are threatened with extinction

23rd August 2017

Project leader Rima Jabado and other members of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group have just released a new report on the Conservation Status of Sharks, Rays and Chimeras in the Arabian Sea and the surrounding waters. This report provides an overview of the conservation status of chondrichthyans in the Arabian Seas Region (ASR) and describes the results of a regional Red List workshop held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in February 2017 which was funded by Save Our Seas Foundation. It identifies those species that are threatened with extinction at the regional level, so that appropriate conservation action can be taken to improve their status. A regional overview of chondrichthyan fisheries, management and conservation is also presented in the report.

© IUCN Shark Specialist Group

The report is a regional overview of the IUCN Red List Status of 153 species of sharks, rays and chimeras put together during a workshop which was held with regional fisheries experts and biologists in Abu Dhabi to determine the extinction risk of these species.

With the help of the ICUN Shark Specialist Group, here are a few of the report’s key findings:

  • 50.9% (78 of the 153 species) of chondrichthyans in the Arabian Seas are threatened
  • 61.9% of shark species in the region are threatened
  • for rays in the region, 66.1% of extant species are threatened
  • of the 30 chondrichthyans endemic to the Arabian seas 26.6% are threatened and another 30% are data deficient
  • most species assessed as least concern (healthy) mostly occur in deep water, outside of the current range of fishing
  • most species are threatened by overfishing from capture in target and bycatch fisheries and are increasingly threatened by degradation of seagrass and mangrove habitat

  • To conserve these species, the report recommends:

  • Strict protection for endangered species
  • Minimise incidental catches of threatened species, encouraging proper handling and live release
  • Further implementing international agreements such as CMS ( Convention of Migratory Species) and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
  • Development of an Arabian Seas FOA (Fisheries Aquaculture) shark plan
  • Facilitating training in taxonomy, monitoring and stock assessment
  • Overview of the Arabian Seas region