WHERE CAN SILK SHARKS BE FOUND
Silk sharks are known to be nomads that love warm waters. They can be found in the northwestern Atlantic, western, central and eastern Pacific Oceans and in the Indian Ocean. They spend most of their time in deep water, such as the ocean away from land and deep-water reefs, but will return to shallower waters and reefs to hunt and breed.
WHY IS THIS SPECIES IMPORTANT?
Silk sharks play an important role in marine ecosystems, especially coral reef ecosystems. As top predators, silk sharks maintain predators below them (such as groupers) in the food chain, thereby preserving species diversity of non-predatory ocean animals (animals) eat plants). These carnivores help keep coral reefs healthy by eating seaweed in reef habitats. Without silk sharks and other sharks, the ecosystem would shift and threaten the very existence of the reef system that supports a quarter of all ocean life!
HOW ENDANGERED ARE SILK SHARKS?
Like other sharks, the silk shark is susceptible to overfishing, due to its long gestation period, small number of young, and slow growth rate. They are the second most caught shark globally, after the blue shark. Silk sharks are both a direct target and a species that is accidentally caught during tuna fishing. Regardless of the type of catch, they are often held for meat and fins, or thrown back into the ocean, most of them severely injured. As of 2017, the silk shark has been classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is also further protected through the 2017 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’s Appendix II list, which regulates the silk shark trade. Subsequent efforts to protect silk sharks have been implemented including improved fisheries monitoring to reduce shark catches. However, because silk sharks are highly migratory and often associated with tuna, we have not found a solution to reduce the rate of sharks being accidentally caught while maintaining the economy. seafood economy.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Avoid purchasing or consuming products containing sharks. Because silk sharks are often caught accidentally during tuna fishing, limit seafood consumption or choose to buy sustainably sourced seafood. Inform friends and family about the importance of silk sharks!