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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pacific reef shark populations plummeting, study says

(CNN) -- Humans are causing a steep decline in populations of reef sharks in the Pacific Ocean according to a new study by a group of international marine scientists.

The new estimates of reef sharks compared numbers around populated islands with those living near uninhabited ones. The results were sobering, say researchers.

"We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90% compared to those at the most untouched reefs," said lead author Marc Nadon from the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii.

Over 1600 underwater surveys across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls were undertaken in the study and combined with data on human population, habitat complexity, reef size and satellite records. Read More