Originally posted at www.nbcmiami.com on 3/9/12
By Jeff Burnside
Stony Brook study comes at a time when an estimated 70 million sharks are killed each year, largely for their fins for soup
They call it “the chum cam.” And, for the first time, it’s showing that protecting areas of the ocean works not just for fish but for sharks too.
The Stony Brook University study, published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS 1, dispels the notion that reef sharks simply swim too far and wide to benefit from marine protected areas. While some shark species do, in fact, swim thousands of miles outside protected areas, other species that focus on reefs do benefit.
“This could be extrapolated to other species” of sharks, says Demian Chapman, co-author of the study. His team installed the underwater camera that was aimed at a cage full of fish parts to attract sharks to a concentrated area inside a protected area off Belize. Then they moved the “chum cam” to a similar reef area far outside the protected area and found vastly fewer sharks. Indeed, the ecosystem in unprotected areas had essentially collapsed, with fewer sharks, fish and most everything else.