Nurse sharks are commonly caught in small-scale local fisheries in some parts of its range, and are incidentally captured in many coastal fisheries (1) (2). Its tough, thick hide makes good leather, the flesh is consumed by humans and used for fishmeal, and oil is extracted from the liver (2). The nurse shark is also captured for the aquarium trade, and is occasionally the target of spear fishermen (1). As the nurse shark grows slowly and matures late, this exploitation can cause populations to decline rapidly and recover slowly (6). The threat of overexploitation is compounded by the impact of humans on the coastal and reef habitats of the nurse shark (1) (6). Coral reefs are a particularly vulnerable habitat, being impacted by pollution, sedimentation, global climate change and disturbance from tourism (1). Extreme population reductions have already been recorded in the southern Western Atlantic, and it is possible that the nurse shark is declining, unnoticed, in other areas where there is a lack of data (1). For this reason, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has classified the nurse shark as Data Deficient (1).
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