Largest shark biomass found in Northern Galápagos Islands

Written by on May 25, 2016 in Marine Life, Sharks

Earlier this year, Ecuador announced the creation of a marine sanctuary around the Galápagos Islands. No fishing, mining, or drilling for oil is allowed in the sanctuary, providing an important refuge for one of the most valuable places in the ocean.

A group of hammerhead sharks swims over the sandy seafloor populated with garden eels at Darwin Island. Photo credit: Enric Sala/National Geographic, from 'National Geographic Pristine Seas'.

A group of hammerhead sharks swims over the sandy seafloor populated with garden eels at Darwin Island. Photo credit: Enric Sala/National Geographic, from ‘National Geographic Pristine Seas’.

Now, a new study from the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the National Geographic Society reveals that the newly protected waters around the islands of Darwin and Wolf have the largest shark biomass reported to date.

The presence of sharks is important because it indicates a healthy ecosystem.

“The islands of Darwin and Wolf are jewels in the crown of the Galapagos because of the sheer abundance of sharks and other top predators,” Pelayo Salinas de Leon, lead author and senior marine ecologist at CDRS, explained in a news release.

Although, despite the large shark biomass, excessive fishing has led to a decrease in the abundance of reef fishes in the area.

“The study published today adds to the growing body of literature highlighting the ecological uniqueness and the irreplaceable value of Darwin and Wolf — not only for Ecuador but for the world,” the authors note. Given the importance of the area, they also encourage strict enforcement of the new sanctuary.

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Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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