25 November 2005

UK: Leaders working to save sharks

The UK is pressing world governments to agree to new measures ensuring the survival of the increasingly rare Basking shark.

The Basking shark is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List - the World Conservation Union's list of species most at risk of global extinction.

UK Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight is now asking nations to pledge to take

measures to protect both species and conserve or restore their habitats, limit obstacles to their migration, and control other factors that might endanger them.

He also wants states in whose territorial waters Basking sharks live, breed, or migrate to, to cooperate internationally and reach agreements to protect the species.

The enormous, plankton-eating Basking shark is the largest shark found in UK waters and can be spotted near the surface of the sea in the summer months, mainly off the coast of South-West England, the Isle of Man and the West of Scotland. The world's second largest fish can grow to 11 meters long and 7 tons in weight.

"We are incredibly lucky to have the Basking shark as a regular visitor to our shores and it is appalling that an unsustainable demand for its meat and fins could be a real threat to its future. The Basking shark is an amazing creature and I am determined that we do everything in our power to protect it," says Knight.

The shark takes between 12-20 years to reach maturity, has a long gestation period and gives birth to few young. This means that when they are commercially fished the local population is very vulnerable to depletion and can take many years to recover.

Source: www.sharktrust.org


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