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article image25 percent of sharks, rays, at risk of extinction

By Tucker Cummings     Jan 22, 2014 in Science
Sharks have been around for about 450 million years. But the future of one of planet Earth's most successful species is at risk. New evidence suggests that 25 percent of sharks and rays are at risk of extinction.
According to findings from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a quarter of the world's shark and ray species are at risk due to overfishing and habitat issues.
The findings, based on the work of 302 researchers from 64 different nations, were published on the journal eLIFE.
According to Nick Dulvy, co-chair of the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group, these animals face an "alarmingly elevated risk of extinction."
“In greatest peril are the largest species of rays and sharks, especially those living in shallow water that is accessible to fisheries," Dulvy added.
Part of the reason that sharks are so at risk is because of fishing practices like "finning." Sharks are caught, their dorsal fins are sliced off, and the sharks are thrown back into the water to die. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia, though celebrities like Maggie Q have been outspoken about the environmental impact of eating this soup.
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