Featured Image Credit: Marsha Englebrecht
By: Sarah Sharkey
Rare sharks are extremely hard to study. Researchers struggle to understand rare shark populations because they are so difficult to find. Without specimens, it can be close to impossible to draw conclusions about a species.
Scientists struggle to study these sharks because they are difficult to catch. It is almost impossible to perform a study on a single area and find any particularly rare sharks. So, they have resorted to a different way of study.
Fish markets are a unique way to study rare sharks from the vast oceans. Fishermen are out on the water pulling up fish every day, so the bycatch opportunities are endless. Scientists are looking around fish markets to find rare specimens and find out more about them.
One shark biologist, David Ebert, has been traveling to fish markets for a while looking for rare sharks. He had this to say about the finding the shark pictured here, “This is an example of the types of lost sharks that I look for, species that no one is paying any attention to. Unfortunately, it’s only through these things being caught that you become aware of them.”
Typically, he spends a few days at the markets. Through talks with local fisherman, he can extra help from them. He has found several new species through this method. It is an important way for marine biologists to understand the shark population a little bit better, even if the thought of combing through fish markets is depressing.
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