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An urgent wake-up call for global biodiversity: A commentary by Jim Angell and Lee Crockett

November 08, 2021

Sharks_underwater_GettyImages_vchalPreserving ocean biodiversity begins with sharks

In 2014, the first and most comprehensive survey ever conducted of world shark populations concluded that, as a result of overfishing, habitat destruction, illegal trade, and climate change, 16 percent of the ocean's most magnificent, charismatic creatures were threatened by extinction.

This year comes a grim update: The percentage of the shark population "threatened with extinction" has doubled, to 32.6 percent.

The projections are based on real deaths — more than 100 million sharks are killed each year — that are driven by human-made decisions that imperil the health of not only our oceans and its fish but our entire planet.

These new findings are an urgent wake-up call for the United Nations' biodiversity conference, which began virtually this month and ends with in-person sessions in China next April. A cornerstone of the summit is the vital target 3, which asks every country that is party to the convention to conserve 30 percent of its land and waters by 2030. Seventy countries already have pledged to meet this target, including the United States with an executive order in January....

Read the full commentary by Jim Angell, a board member of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and a founding member of the cboard, and Lee Crockett, executive director of the Shark Conservation Fund.

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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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