"Chum cams" reveal benefits of protection for endangered sharks
Friday, March 09, 2012 - 01:24
March 12 - A new study using a ''chum'' camera to track shark populations in the Caribbean, concludes that areas of the ocean protected from fishing are having a tangible, positive impact on shark and fish numbers, compared to areas where fishing still takes place. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL
STORY: Scientists at Stony Brook University's Institute for Ocean Conservation Science discovered that populations of large, active sharks thrive inside marine protected areas, which provide a respite from fishing and more prey for them to eat.
In a new study published in the online journal, PLoS ONE, the research team found that protecting parts of the ocean benefits both sharks and fish. It says that if more areas were designated as marine reserves, in addition to more sharks, there would be a positive impact on populations of fish and crustaceans such as lobsters.
Caribbean reef sharks and other shark species around the world have decreased in recent years due to overfishing, and have been classified as "near threatened" by conservation groups.
To track the sharks' numbers and movements, the research team used 200 baited remote underwater video cameras, nick named "chum cams." The cameras were placed on the floor of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in the Caribbean Sea.
Over the course of five years, the cameras collected video data of sharks swimming in two marine reserves and two areas where fishing is allowed.
Similar camera traps have been used successfully by researchers to study tigers and other animals in the wild.
Caribbean reef sharks live in the western Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Bermuda to southern Brazil and are the only Atlantic requiem shark species that undergoes its entire life cycles within coral reef ecosystems.
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