Research quantifies plastic risk to sharks and rays
Discarded fishing gear is the major culprit. Nick Carne reports.
Sharks and rays are becoming entangled in plastic waste in oceans
across the world to a worrying extent – and social media helps us know that.
While such entanglements don’t pose a major threat to the future of sharks and rays, the researchers say, they do flag serious animal welfare issues.
"The shark had clearly continued growing after becoming
entangled, so the rope – which was covered in barnacles – had dug into its skin
and damaged its spine.”
On Twitter, the researchers found 74 entanglement reports
involving 559 individual sharks and rays from 26 species, including whale
sharks, great whites, tiger sharks and basking sharks.
The UK-based Shark Trust has created an online report form to gather reports of entanglements from anywhere in the world.