Global study reveals sharks are functionally extinct from many reefs

Grey Reef Shark

A landmark study by Global FinPrint reveals sharks are absent on many of the world’s coral reefs, indicating they are too rare to fulfill their normal role in the ecosystem. 

Of the 371 reefs surveyed in 58 countries, sharks were not observed on nearly 20 percent, indicating a widespread decline that has gone undocumented on this scale until now. The Global FinPrint team, led by researchers in FIU’s Institute of Environment, also identified conservation measures that could lead to recovery of these iconic predators.

Essentially no sharks were detected on any of the reefs in the Dominican Republic, the French West Indies, Kenya, Vietnam, the Windward Dutch Antilles and Qatar. Among these, a total of only three sharks were observed during more than 800 survey hours, according to the study published in Nature.

The study garnered attention around the globe:

  • Study finds sharks are vanishing, and that’s a “crisis” for humans, CBS This Morning
  • Sharks are ‘functionally extinct’ in many global reef systems, study finds, By Elizabeth Claire Alberts, Mongabay
  • Más de 15.000 horas de grabación y una conclusión: hay menos tiburones, By Alberto Domingo Carreiro, EFE
  • Sharks ‘functionally extinct’ at 20% of world’s coral reefs as fishing drives global decline, By Graham Readfearn, The Guardian
  • Sharks ‘functionally extinct’ in 20% world’s coral reefs, FIU-led study shows, By Adriana Brasileiro, Miami Herald
  • Sharks ‘functionally extinct’ in a fifth of world’s reefs, By Emma Gatten, The Telegraph
  • Sharks ‘functionally extinct’ from one in five coral reefs, By Erik Stokstad, Science Magazine
  • Sharks have vanished from 20 percent of coral reefs, By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com
  • Unprecedented study, led by FIU researchers, shows alarming drop in shark population, CBS Miami 

Global FinPrint is supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.