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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sharks gone missing

Sharks gone missing
Dindo to talk about their declining population in Gulf waters in the first of a series of coastal ecology lectures
Wednesday, March 18, 2009, Baldwin Country Now

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — “In the mid-’80s, you could fish off Fort Morgan and catch large numbers of sharks of all species,” said Dr. John Dindo, associate director at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, referring to the Civil War site at the mouth of Mobile Bay. “Those numbers are not there today. We don’t know all the reasons, but the research we’re doing is seeking to answer questions like that.”

Big sharks of several varieties were once abundant in this area, he said.“But that’s not the case anymore,” Dindo said. “The decline could be tied directly to long-line tuna fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Anything caught on a long-line is going to die in a typical fishing situation.” The sharks also have a slow recovery time, adding to that decline in numbers, he said.

Dindo said the general public still has misconceptions about sharks. There is still that ominous soundtrack from the movie, “Jaws,” playing in their heads when many people think about sharks.“That same music is not playing when someone thinks about getting bit by an ant or bee,” he said. “But the likelihood of dying from anaphylactic shock from a bee sting or ant bite is much more likely than ever being bit by a shark. Sharks occupy a vital role in the ecology and environment.”

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