Shark Conservation Gaining Momentum – But Is It Enough?

Thursday 27th, October 2011 / 09:56 Published by

Scientists and law-makers across the world are prioritising the protection of sharks, but critics say the measures don’t work.

The shark, which lands on the deck of the Coral Princess boat, is 6.5ft of thrashing grey muscle and teeth, and the crew can’t wait to get their hands on him.

They slip a plastic breathing tube through rows of sharp serrated teeth to pump water over its gills, and get to work: measuring, taking blood and tissue samples, and drilling a small hole in its dorsal fin to attach a satellite transmitter. The device looks a bit like a bath toy.

Seven minutes later, the bull shark is back in the water. He’s got a new name (Ben), a corporate sponsor, and a website, which tracks his location every time his fin breaks the surface of the water. Neil Hammerschlag, who heads the RJ Dunlap marine conservation programme at the University of Miami, is beaming. “He looked amazing,” he says.

It’s not the typical human-shark encounter but then the human relationship with sharks is at a tipping point – and just in time. Shark populations around the world are heading towards extinction. A creature once seen as a source of dread is now seen as a top priority for conservation.

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