Overfishing of sharks endangers reefs: Australian study
SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists studying reefs off Australia said on Thursday that sharks play a fundamental role in the health of coral, and overfishing of them made reefs more vulnerable to global warming and weather disasters.
A research team, led by Dr Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), studied the impact of sharks at the Rowley Shoals and Scott Reefs, 300km off north-west Australia, over 10 years.
"Where shark numbers are reduced, we see a fundamental change in the structure of food chains on reefs," he said.
"We see increasing numbers of mid-level predators such as snappers, and a reduction in the numbers of herbivores such as parrot fishes.