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The sharks – these misunderstood predators in Greek seas.

23 October 2011 / 13:10:20  GRReporter
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The legendary white shark, but also another 35 species of sharks live in the Greek seas. These misunderstood predators, however, are endangered with extinction.

Fishing for their fins (finning), accidental catches, reduction of food because of overfishing, climate change, but also their slow reproductive rates, have brought sharks to the limits of survival.

In the Mediterranean the greatest threat is considered to be the illegal catch using drift nets. Therefore, the organization Shark Alliance organizes European Week of sharks (October 15th to 23rd) to inform people and to find supporters in the campaign to protect their populations.

In Greece, sharks live mainly at sea, many of them, however, often come in closed bays, such as the Corinthian, the Saronic Gulf and the Gulf of Volos in order to reproduce.

"The presence of many different species of sharks in a region is a sign of undisturbed habitat. As supreme predator sharks play an important role in the biodiversity of a region as the interaction with other species keeps the population of the latter under control. The food of sharks consists of generally large animals, such as. large fish (tuna fish, Mayan, etc..), other sharks and devil fish, sea turtles, large octopus, shrimps, crabs", says George Paksimadis responsible for maritime programs of WWF.

Sharks and Moroccan driftnets

Measures that must be taken to protect sharks are related to international law and its implementation in the Mediterranean and Greece. Many shark species are not protected neither by Greek, nor by international law.

In particular, out of the 35 species of sharks living in the Greek seas only the mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), blue shark are protected while white shark and the shark Hexanchus griseus are protected by European law (their catch, landing and sale is strictly prohibited) . Nevertheless, not even this law is applied.

A typical example is the ongoing illegal driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean by Turkish and Moroccan fishing vessels.

«WWF participates in all international organizations concerned with conservation of sharks, while cooperating with the fishing industry internationally, in order to reduce illegal fishing and to increase the selectivity of fishing gear, organizing the international competition Smart Gear. What we can all do as consumers, is primarily to stop consuming shark fish", emphasized Mr. Paksimadis.

Dogfish and fin soup

Different types of dogfish in Greece are subject to overfishing, resulting in frequent restaurants serving other types of sharks. For example, the blue shark is sold in supermarkets labeled "Blue".

"Even the shark fin soup is served at some Chinese restaurants in Greece. Although sharks are not being caught in the country for the sale of their fins, this is a thriving practice in other seas of the world and represents the most serious threat to sharks worldwide ", emphasizes Mr. Paksimadis, indicating that the majority of fins reach the markets in China and Hong Kong.

You can also help to protect sharks, by signing the electronic petition to the Ministers of Fisheries in the European Union.

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