The problems facing these incredible fish come from man’s fear of them. In 1975 the release of the film Jaws had a huge impact on the general public’s opinion of sharks and it can still be seen today.
Sharks worldwide are in decline, it is now estimated that when comparing populations there has been a 70% decline in most shark species in the last 20-30 years and a 90% decline in some genus (Hammerhead sharks).
This decline is largely due to the fishing industry. For years fishing has gone unreported and unregulated with the number of sharks caught every year estimated to be upwards of 100 million individuals.
This removal of apex predators form ecosystems worldwide is having a devastating effect both on shark populations and marine food webs.
With the reduction in apex predators, mesopredators are now able to proliferate in number and occupy the highest level without the threat of predation. This increase then leads to a loss in their prey species and can result in the collapse of an ecosystem.
Within the Caribbean, a decline in the number of Caribbean sharks has caused an increase in the number of groupers. The higher number of groupers feeding on parrot fish has then meant that algae is beginning to take over parts of the reef as the important herbivorous grazer is being removed.