Not Club Med But Club Dead

One of my visions for the future is my wife and I enjoying full-bodied French and Italian wines in our villa overlooking the Mediterranean. In contrast, if you are shark or ray the Mediterranean is more like hell. Globally, many elasmobranch species are endangered due to anthropogenic effects. In the Mediterranean, the IUCN reports that 30 of 71 species are close to extinction from over-fishing and habitat loss. This and low reproductive output (a few pups a year), slow growth, and late maturity, combine to doom most species. Only the Portuguese dogfish, a deep-sea shark, is doing better in the Mediterranean potentially benefiting from a 2005 ban on fishing below 1,000m and low commercially interest. Note however that the species is still listed as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN. Below is table of the results from the IUCN assessment (click for full size).

iucnmedshark.jpg


The Mediterranean list:

Critically Endangered
Oxynotus centrina Angular roughshark
Squatina aculeata Sawback angelshark
Squatina oculata Smoothback angelshark
Squatina squatina Angelshark
Pristis pectinata Smalltooth sawfish
Pristis pristis Common sawfish
Dipturus batis Common skate
Leucoraja melitensis Maltese skate
Rostroraja alba White skate
Gymnura altavela Spiny butterfly ray
Carcharias taurus Sand tiger shark
Isurus oxyrinchus Shortfin mako
Lamna nasus Porbeagle shark
Endangered
Squalus acanthias Spiny dogfish
Rhinobatos cemiculus Blackchin guitarfish
Rhinobatos rhinobatos Common guitarfish
Leucoraja circularis Sandy skate
Mobula mobular Giant devilray
Odontaspis ferox Smalltooth sand tiger
Carcharodon carcharias Great white shark
Carcharhinus plumbeus Sandbar shark
Vulnerable
Heptranchias perlo Sharpnose sevengill shark
Centrophorus granulosus Gulper shark
Alopias vulpinus Thresher shark
Cetorhinus maximus Basking shark
Galeorhinus galeus Tope shark
Mustelus asterias Starry smoothhound
Mustelus mustelus Smoothhound
Prionace glauca Blue shark
Sphyrna zygaena Smooth hammerhead
Neat Threatened
Chimaera monstrosa Rabbitfish
Hexanchus griseus Bluntnose sixgill shark
Dipturus oxyrhynchus Sharpnose skate
Leucoraja naevus Cuckoo skate
Raja clavata Thornback skate
Raja polystigma Speckled skate
Dasyatis centroura Roughtail stingray
Dasyatis pastinaca Common stingray
Pteroplatytrygon violacea Pelagic stingray
Myliobatis aquila Common eagle ray
Rhinoptera marginata Lusitanian cownose ray
Galeus atlanticus Atlantic catshark
Scyliorhinus stellaris Nursehound

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


One Reply to “Not Club Med But Club Dead”

  1. Having seen first-hand what’s happened to bluefin tuna in the Med, it’s not at all surprising to see these results for even more K-selected species like elasmobranchs. You didn’t, but I would caution others against blaming JUST the Europeans, however: one, there’s more than enough guilt to go around, and two, countries including Turkey, Morocco, and Libya are still developing commercial fisheries in the Med. Their arguments for why they’re doing so in a critically-depleted marine region? Because they can, because they need to (feed their domestic populations), and — more emotionally — because the Europeans did, so why shouldn’t they. As the international Atlantic tunas management organization noted in 1999, the world community of the future is much more likely to be arguing about the shares of the pie, unfortunately, than the shrinking size of the pie itself.

    Happy Sunday thoughts! Thanks for the post, Craig.

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