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Compare similarities or differences between the data available for your species

by | Jun 23, 2022 | Biology (and other Life Sciences) | 0 comments

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Compare similarities or differences between the data available for your species (attached) and that of the below species. What similarities do you see between your species’ conservation status? What differences do you see with regards to available data? Does the information available correlate with the Red List category? (For example, are more data available for a Vulnerable/VU species compared to a Critically Endangered/CE species? Or vice versa?)
Now find a new species listed on the NOAA Species Directory https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species-directory (with any level of protection) that has a different designation on the IUCN Red List. Share the species and conservation status listed by each organization. For example, the blackchin guitarfish (Rhinobatos cemiculus ) is listed as Threatened by NOAA Fisheries and Critically Endangered by IUCN. Why do you think this difference exists?
Article to compare:
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Taxonomy (Rigby et al., 2019)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Carcharhinus
Species: longimanus (NOAA Fisheries, n.d.)

The Oceanic Whitetip Shark is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List (Rigby et al., 2019). The population is unfortunately decreasing, and the population is severely fragmented in the wild (Rigby et al., 2019). I know from prior research that there isn’t too much sufficient data on their population numbers. That’s reflected on the IUCN Red List (2019) as they don’t know how many mature Oceanic Whitetip Sharks there are. These sharks live in the neritic, also referred to as the pelagic zone, the surface of the water down to about 1,082 meters in depth (Rigby et al., 2019). They live in tropical/subtropical waters between 30 degrees N and 35 degrees S latitude (Baum et al., 2015). Individuals can grow to a total length of 11.5 feet. Males will typically be about 6 feet in length when sexually mature, females about 6.5 feet. These sharks are viviparous (Merriam-Webster, n.d.), gestating liters of up to 15 pups for 10 to 12 months and then giving live birth (Rigby et al., 2019). They do so every two years, known as biennial (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) reproduction. This species only lives about 20 years and is slow to mature to reproductive age (NOAA Fisheries, n.d.).
That is why this species is severely threatened by bycatch from human fishing activity. They are caught and killed in nets before they reach the age to reproduce, which is what has pushed their population to a critically endangered status. Despite regulations prohibiting the retention of this species when caught, they are kept for their fins and their meat in certain areas of the world. They are also kept for their skin and liver oil in trade, accounting for the black market shark fin trade as well. According to the IUCN site, there is no conservative action being taken with this species aside from legislation and management of trade around the world (Rigby et al., 2019).
The NOAA Recovery Plan for Oceanic Whitetip Sharks lists them as Threatened per the Endangered Species Act, not Critically Endangered per the IUCN. The Recovery Plan states that in the Northwest region of the United States, retention of the sharks is prohibited, unlike fisheries in other parts of the world. Perhaps because there is no known shark fin trade here in the United States compared to global fish markets. NOAA also states that there has been a global decline in the species population of about 50 to 80%, a fact excluded from the IUCN site. One thing I did learn from the IUCN was that the sharks were traded and used for their skin which I did not know. I figured they were used for their fins and meat but didn’t know that the skin was a sought-out aspect. The IUCN site was data deficient in many areas in my opinion. I understand that there is no data for the number of mature reproductive individuals because these sharks are hard to count due to their vast range. Numbers can be estimated, but an exact total is out of the realm of possibility it seems. This doesn’t suggest that this species isn’t important to humans. It’s just a fact of geography and that the oceans are a very big place. We will never be able to get exact species that are globally spread out. Even the NOAA Fisheries site does not have this data available.
References:
Baum, J., Medina, E., Musick, J. A., & Smale, M. (2015). Carcharhinus longimanus, Oceanic Whitetip Shark. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.iucnredlist.org (Links to an external site.)
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Biennial definition & meaning. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biennial (Links to an external site.)
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Viviparous definition & meaning. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/viviparous (Links to an external site.)
NOAA Fisheries. (n.d.). Oceanic whitetip shark. NOAA. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/oceanic-whitetip-shark (Links to an external site.)
Rigby, C. L., Barreto, R., Carlson, J., Fernando, D., Fordham, S., Francis, M. P., Herman, K., Jabado, R. W., Liu, K. M., Marshall, A., Pacoureau, N., Romanov, E., Sherley, R. B., & Winker, H. (2019). Oceanic Whitetip Shark. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/39374/2911619#conservation-actions

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