The resulting population growth of the cownose ray, which feeds on the bay scallop, caused the collapse of a scallop fishery that had existed for a century, destroying the livelihoods of the fishermen. Scallops are also known to filter small unwanted debris from the water, Hammerschlag said, providing indirect evidence that a reduction in sharks may contribute to dirtier waters.
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Predation is not the only way sharks affect other sea life either. New research, Hammerschlag said, is starting to show that the very presence of sharks can alter the movements, behavior and even reproductive abilities of the fish around them. For a fish, being around a shark is stressful, given that it means constant vigilance to avoid being eaten. This stress can wear on the fish, potentially influencing its ability to bear healthy offspring. All of these effects can be filed under population control, with pressure from sharks keeping the system flowing and preventing it from collapse.
All of which makes the reaction to kill off sharks that have killed people understandable yet a knee-jerk reaction at best. Show me the weather in Toggle Menu Menu Manage notifications. By Laura Dattaro March 07 Off the coast of California, Hammerhead sharks flock.
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