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August 28, 2014

Seismic Surveys and Sharks: a Bad Combination



It is said that the Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most dangerous place for sharks and rays, as 4 out of 10 species are threatened. But along with the threat of overfishing, there is another factor that puts these wonderful creatures at risk:  oil exploration. As you might know, we made a list of endangered species living in the area affected by the proposed Cairn Energy oil exploration project in the Gulf of Valencia. Around 180 species are affected in total, and along with some fish, the most vulnerable species are actually sharks.

The common thresher (Alopias vulpinus), the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), the gulper shark (Centrophorus granulosus),the basking shark (C. maximus), the common shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), the porbeagle (Lamna nasus), the dogfish (Galeorhinus galeus), the blue shark (Prionace glauca), the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna spp.), the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), the white skate (Rostroraja alba), the common skate (Dipturus batis); all of these are threatened species of shark in the Mediterranean Sea and have been documented by both Spanish and international regulation.

In some cases, the status of these species is particularly bad in the Mediterranean. For example, the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the common shark as critically endangered, and claims the same about the Porbeagle, a species which has virtually disappeared from the Mediterranean Sea.

The very last thing these amazing animals need is more interference from humans. Therefore, the noise of seismic surveys is certainly not a good idea, if we want to keep sharks in our ecosystem.