Scientists have grown, on a laboratory scale, a small population of the world’s most aggressive sharks, putting their breeding on the fast track to preventing the extinction of these majestic creatures, and breeding with it.
According to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Harold Levison, who studies vertebrate sharks, the genetic line will most likely translate to so-called big predator sharks that have captured the world’s imagination and acclaim — like the enormous Great White, or the Zimbabwe-flanked Shearwater, which has a full 30 passengers inside.
In a recent interview with California’s Press-Enterprise, Levison and his colleagues at the Berkeley-based Shark Lab said they hope to ensure such sharks’ survival in the future. “The hope is that when we breed these species, this will have the ability to ensure that they will be here 50 years from now,” Levison said.
Other scientists have been working on the issue for years. Many states have banned their catch and sale, or even made them illegal, but the species still carry a high mortality rate as they swim around in their coastal waters. In the scientific community, Levison and his colleagues found a kindred spirit with Australian researcher Chris Neff, who has worked on big-predator shark conservation and production for years.
“We realized the two types of sharks that we wanted to participate in the program were the Nile snapper and the bull shark,” Levison told the Press-Enterprise. “They are both the most dangerous populations in the world. We can breed them, then get them back to the ocean and let them flourish for the future.”
With the breeding program starting to take hold, the team hopes to have finished with the Nile snapper by this summer. It’s not stopping there. They’re aiming to do the same with the bull shark, and eventually tackle species with less of a high kill rate, like the great white.
Read the full story at California’s Press-Enterprise.
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