Seventeen species of sharks are now facing extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The announcement comes after years of evidence that shark populations are decreasing as humans continue to have very little regard for the ocean and the marine animals that call it home.
“Our results are alarming and yet not surprising, as we find the sharks that are especially slow-growing, sought-after, and unprotected from overfishing tend to be the most threatened,” said Professor Nicholas Dulvy, the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group (SSG) co-chair based at Simon Fraser University, in a statement.
On the list includes the shortfin mako, whose cruising speed of 25 mph and burst of 43 mph make it the fastest of all sharks in the oceans. This animal in particular has seen populations dwindle rapidly due to the demand for shark fin soup.
A total of 58 sharks were evaluated in the latest list. In total, six of the shark species were listed as critically endangered and 11 were listed as endangered or vulnerable to extinction. Species that made the list for the first time include the whiten swellshark, the Argentine Angel shark, and the smooth back angel shark.
In light of its new findings, The Ocean Foundation is calling for “immediate national and international fishing limits, including complete bans on landing those species assessed as ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’,” said Sonja Fordham, deputy chair of the group and an officer at The Ocean Foundation.
Sharks across the world are seeing numbers dwindle due multiple reasons include the shark-finning industry, being a product of bycatch, pollution and loss of habitat. Due to this, a 2013 peer-review study estimated that upward of 100 million sharks are fished every year.
There is some good news though in that some governments are paying closer attention to the problem as a whole. In May, governments from around the world will vote on a proposal to list the shortfin mako on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Appendix II would not ban the fishing or trading of the species, but it would regulate it further, making countries demonstrate their catch is legal and sustainable before engaging in international trade.