A team of international researchers led by a University of Hawaii scientist has found that Pacific reef shark populations have plummeted by 90 percent or more in recent decades — mostly as a result of human fishing.
Quantifying the decline for the first time, the analysis published online Friday in the journal Conservation Biology demonstrates that shark populations fare worse the closer they are to people — even if the nearest population is an atoll with fewer than 100 residents.
Near populated islands such as the main Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa, the study found, there were roughly 26 sharks per square mile. Remote reefs such as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or Johnson Atoll, by contrast, boasted 337 sharks per square mile.
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