Sharks are a very misunderstood animal. There are more than 400 types of sharks, but the most well known is the Great White shark. Many people are afraid of sharks and shark attacks, but there are only about 100 shark attacks per year, and most of those are mistaken identity cases. Only ¼ of shark attacks are fatal. Though most people only know of the great white, there are plenty of other interesting species of sharks, one of which is the daggernose. The daggernose usually lives in shallow, coastal waters near Brazil and Trinidad, but has been seen in other places. It is relatively small (about 4.9 feet), and has a long ‘dagger-like’ nose. It is grey or brown with a white belly and large, paddle-shaped pectoral fins. They have small eyes, so it is likely that daggernoses use their dagger-like nose to sense surroundings more than they use their eyesight. While there is not a lot of information on the daggernose’s diet, it seems they eat schooling fish.
Why Are They Endangered?
Some sharks are fished commercially for many items, the most famous of which is shark fin soup. ‘Finning’ is where the fins are removed from a shark and then the still alive shark is thrown back in the water to die. Like many sharks, the daggernose is endangered because of hunting. The main reason that the daggernose shark is endangered is commercial fishing and bycatch. Daggernoses are sometimes fished for their meat, but the main reason they are critically endangered is bycatch. Bycatch is when unintended prey are caught in a fishery meant for other fish or animals. Many of the fisheries that catch the daggernoses are outside of the regulations put in place to help daggernoses and other endangered animals. Because of hunting and bycatch, the daggernoses’ population has been at a 90% decrease rate for the last 10 years.
Daggernose sharks used to live across the central-western Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean sea. Now they live in a much smaller area and there are much fewer of them. They are connected to the ecosystem just as other species are. For example, they can help control Spanish mackerel and other schooling fish populations. The daggernose shark is an interesting and wonderful animal, but unfortunately, it is not very well known. Most people don’t know that there are many types of sharks, not just great whites or hammerheads. Some of these sharks are very small, and some are huge, but their size does not determine their ferocity; for example, whale sharks are huge but only feed on plankton. It is quite unlikely that someone would get hurt by a shark, but quite a few people are afraid of them. This misinformation and fear about sharks are not only bad for great white sharks survival and other more predatory sharks, but all sharks, like the daggernose and the whale shark.
What Can You Do?
You can raise money and donate to organizations specific to helping sharks, or a broader organization like the World Wildlife Fund. You can also tell people about the many different types of sharks there are and about misinformation surrounding sharks; for example, though shark attacks do happen, they are very unlikely and hardly ever fatal. Quick conservation is needed to make sure the daggernose survives. The daggernose is one of the most endangered sharks, yet not many people know about them. For this reason, one way you can indirectly and positively affect daggernose sharks is by telling people about them and trying to remove some of the stigmas around sharks.
Carrier, Jeffrey. "Shark." Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Mar. 2020, www.britannica.com/animal/shark. Accessed 30 Apr. 2020.
"Shark." World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/species/shark. Accessed 30 Apr. 2020.
Wood, Kirsty. "15 Most Endangered Sharks in the World." Ocean Scuba Dive, 13 July 2018, oceanscubadive.com/most-endangered-sharks-in-the-world/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2020.
"Daggernose Shark." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/daggernose-shark. Accessed 1 May 2020.
Morris, Alice, et al. Can We Save the Daggernose Shark Before It's too Late? Awesome Ocean, awesomeocean.com/news/can-we-save-the-daggernose-shark-before-its-too-late/. Accessed 3 May 2020.
*all pictures used with permission, and/or taken from the sites above.