Over the past five decades, scientists from the University of Queensland and Griffith University have been tracking shark populations swimming along the Queensland coastline. Their latest finding raised concern for the future of sharks as there has been a drastic decrease by more than 90%. In an area that flourishes with sharks, it has now become a profitable territory for fishing companies. Among the various declining shark species are hammerhead and white sharks which dropped by 92%, whaler sharks lowered by 82%, and tiger sharks dropped by 74%.
Researchers have been monitoring shark populations through the Shark Control Program, a system of drum lines and nets along the coast that reduces the risks of shark attacks while aiding research and animal conservation initiatives. Since its implication in 1962, the program has proven useful in measuring shark numbers along the coast. However, what used to be in the thousands has declined due to commercial fishing.
Large apex sharks are key to breeding populations, and reports of decreases in shark sizes are worrying signs of an unhealthy ecosystem. With sharks like hammerheads now at risk of extinction, scientists and environmentalists are advocating for improved regulations on commercial fisheries in hopes that the sharks will not be lost to preventable human efforts.