Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Hope for Hammerheads

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Hope for Hammerheads

Article excerpt

A target of commercial fishermen plying the shark-fin trade, as well as recreational fishermen, great hammerhead sharks have declined in global population by about 80% over the last 25 years. The animal has been listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2007.

Nevertheless, protection and management efforts have been hampered by a lack of knowledge about the shark's behavior. A new study, however, gives hope. By identifying how the sharks use particular areas of the ocean, the study may help marine conservation officials limit the sharks' interaction with humans.

"Knowing when the animals are likely to be in certain places will be critical in developing effective management strategies," said Tristan Guttridge, who led the study at a research station in the Bahamas. "For example, our data could be used to create so-called 'time-area closures,' where certain areas are closed to particular activities, like fishing, at different times. The aim would be to reduce harmful interactions with the sharks."

The team of researchers tagged the sharks with both acoustic and satellite tags and used photo identification and laser photogrammetry (the science of taking measurements from photographs) to chart their movements. …

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