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Species at Risk: Nurse shark

nurse sharks

Nurse sharks are a bottom-dwelling, docile species found in a variety of habitats which include continental shelves, coral and rocky reefs, mangroves and sand flats. Nurse sharks are equipped with long barbells on their snout to locate benthic prey.

Although their meat is not widely commercialized, nurse sharks fall victim to bycatch in gillnets and longlines. Their inshore habitats also make them susceptible to increasing coastal development, water pollution and coral reef degradation. Nurse sharks are listed as “Data Deficient” on IUCN’s Red List.

Many scuba divers enjoy seeing nurse sharks on dives. In surveying over 500 scuba divers, Oceana’s Sea the Value report showed sharks are worth more alive than dead.