MAR 12, 2018 04:56 AM PDT

Even This 'Untouched' Habitat Exhibits Human-Driven Shark Population Declines

Despite just how many people walk the Earth today, some parts of the world are still thought to be ‘untouched’ by human activity. The Chagos archipelago, a group of islands residing in the Indian Ocean, is an adequate example of this.

Researchers noticed fewer sharks in the Chagos archipelago than they originally expected.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Given just how far the Chagos archipelago is from densely-populated continents, researchers expected to witness pristine shark populations there. Sadly, they found just the opposite when they traveled there to investigate. The findings are published in the journal Science Advances.

Fortunately, conservationists have monitored shark populations in the Chagos archipelago for decades. The researchers leveraged a bevy of this existing information throughout their study to discern how shark populations there changed over the years.

Related: Florida man faces charges after punching a hammerhead shark to death

They dug into records dating as far back as 1948 and found that shark populations in the Chagos archipelago are diminishing far below recognized baselines despite longstanding beliefs that these so-called “pristine” environments wouldn’t exhibit symptoms of human interaction.

In particular, the researchers found that local grey reef shark populations were up to 20% lower than expected. Furthermore, local silvertip shark populations were up to 93% lower than expected. These figures were generated from computer-based algorithms and compared with known catch data to see how it aligned.

It’s tough to say for sure what caused these shark declines, but the researchers seem confident that overfishing has something to do with it. Many catches are never legitimately reported and slip under the radar, which doesn’t do conservation efforts any justice.

Perhaps the most significant moral to be learned from the study is that even environments seldom visited by humans can exhibit long-lasting effects from our existence. It’s sad but true.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 24, 2018
Earth & The Environment
AUG 24, 2018
What's the deal with Florida's red tide?
Have you ever seen a red tide? If you live in Florida near the coast, it’s unlikely that you’ve been able to avoid them. But do you really unde...
SEP 09, 2018
Videos
SEP 09, 2018
Mass elephant poaching in Botswana
Ninety dead elephants have been found in Botswana recently, most large bulls whose tusks have been removed. Botswana has historically had a zero-tolerance...
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Can This Exotic Fruit Prevent Obesity?
Not a week goes by that there isn’t a new superfood or some exotic fruit or spice that can curb your appetite, burn fat while you sleep, and boost en...
OCT 17, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 17, 2018
Will Vaquitas Get Another Chance to Rebound?
Native to the Gulf of California, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is one of the most elusive porpoises alive today. Not only does the International Union for...
OCT 23, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 23, 2018
Will This Technology Prevent Future Shark Attacks?
  The frequency of great white shark attacks is thought to be over-estimated by a magnitude of 10 to 100 times, but despite what any shark expert want...
NOV 14, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 14, 2018
Conservationists Report Positive Shift for Mountain Gorilla Populations
The mountain gorilla is one of two subspecies of the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei), a species recognized by the International Union for Conservation o...
Loading Comments...