Human interactions and conservation

As stated earlier in the blog, Goblin sharks are rarely seen, meaning that  whenever and wherever there is an human interaction with this illusive shark, the investigation that follows is often very thorough (Duffy 1997). Only a few specimens have been captured alive and transported to aquariums for study, though they only survived a very short time. One specimen caught of Japan managed to survive for a week in a aquarium at Tokyo University (Yano et al 2007). A most likely reason for these organisms not being able to survive in  aquariums that have been specifically built for them, is that the aquariums can’t efficiently replicate the conditions that the shark is adapted to, e.g. pressure and temperature.

The shark is not commercially targeted by any global fisheries, but is occasionally caught as by-catch in nets and trawls (Duffy et al 2004). The abundance  of which they are caught as by-catch is not of concern as most captures are isolated incidents where only one specimen is caught. Although, an extremely strange occurrence happened of the coast of Taiwan in 2003  where over a hundred goblin sharks were caught in one single trawl (Duffy et al 2004). The density of this catch is not the startling surprise, before this event, goblins sharks had never been sighted or captured in this area. This phenomenon still baffles scientists today with many conflicting ideas as to why this occurred, the most prominent reason that has been suggested is that an earthquake had somehow caused a mass migration of the sharks from the deep sea to shallower waters (Stevens & Paxton 1985).

The IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature)  has put the species under Least Concern ( Duffy et al 2004). The justification of the low conservation importance is that there is just not enough known about the actual distribution and abundance of this species. The rate at which there has been encounters, are a few annually, therefore many believe it is not threatened by anthropogenic activities.

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