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All About Sharks

       
              Omaha's Leader
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Sharks Need Our Protection
According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) approximately 100 million sharks are killed each year. to put this in perspective, that is five times the population of Australia. This does not include those caught as bycatch 9 non-targeted animals caught unintentionally and wasted), which is largely unreported but thought to double the total estimated of annual shark mortality. Many sharks also fall victim to finning, the practice of cutting off the shark's dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins, then discarding the still-living shark into the sea to die.
Most sharks have no predators, but biological characteristics such as slow growth, late sexual maturity and a low number of offspring make sharks susceptible to almost any fishing pressure. Most species are either fished to capacity or overfished worldwide. Demand for products like shark meat, fins and cartilage contributes to their decline.
Few countries have management plans in place to protect sharks populations, and at the current mortality rate, many sharks species may soon be extinct.
Sharks --- Rulers of the Ocean
Virtually unchanged for more than 400 million years, sharks" streamlined bodies and amazing sensory systems fit the mold of a perfect predator. But now, a more dangerous predator threatens their reign:
Sharks have sensory organs unlike any other creatures.
Most sharks can:
* pick up sound waves from more than five kilometers/three miles away.
* detect a single drop of blood in an amount of water contained in an Olympic size swimming pool.
* register the heightened body tension of a wounded or panic-stricken creature.
* locate prey in total darkness.
* Sharks' bodies consist mostly of muscle and cartilage.
* With its hydrodynamic shape, a shark can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour.
A False Reputation
In the fictitious 1970's movie Jaws, American film director Steven Spielberg depicted sharks as vicious killing machines. In reality, of the approximately 400 species of sharks, only 21 are considered a threat to humans - swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers are at minimal risk. In fact, more people are killed by lightning, alligators, bee stings and farm animals than by sharks every year. Worldwide, less than 100 sharks attacks occur each year, and of these, only 15 percent are fatal. The truth is, sharks are in far greater danger from humans than we are by a shark, approximately one million sharks are killed each year.