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Media Highlight: 100 million sharks killed every year, study shows on eve of international conference on shark protection

Posted by Communications and Marketing on March 7, 2013 in Media Highlights

New Dalhousie research led by Biology's Boris Worm has garnered international headlines this week. Here is one article from National Geographic:

One of the most comprehensive studies ever compiled on illegal shark killing brings new startling statistics. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year around the world, a number that far exceeds what many populations need to recover.

The statistical report, compiled by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, crunched numbers of reported shark catches globally and used data from nearly 100 former papers to estimate the number of unreported shark deaths every year. In a moving range, the researchers were able to calculate that between 6.4% and 7.9% of sharks of all species are killed annually.

To put that range in perspective, researchers analyzed life data from 62 shark species and found that only 4.9% of sharks can be killed each year to maintain population stability. Anything more than that threatens long term survival of species like the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and several kinds of hammerheads. What’s worse, sharks are considered uniquely vulnerable because they take long periods to mature and generally produce few young over their lifetimes.


“There’s a staggering number of sharks being caught every year and the number is way too high considering the biology of species,” says Dalhousie biologist Boris Worm, the study’s lead researcher. The 100 million sharks was actually a conservative estimate. Worm’s team found the number could be as high as 273 million sharks killed each year.

To read the rest of this article, visit National Geographic's website.