Scallop lovers may have a vested interested in the fate of sharks.
A new report in the journal Science says overfishing of sharks may be endangering the gourment delicacy. Researchers say with fewer sharks along the East Coast, populations of skates and rays have increased sharply. Those smaller predators are devouring shellfish, particularly bay scallops.
The report's lead author says while ecologists have known that reducing key species on land can affect an entire ecosystem, this study provides hard data of the same thing in the ocean.
The lead author is Charles H. Peterson of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He works in Morehead City, North Carolina.
The concern over scallops is considered acute, because the numbers have fallen to the point that there may not be enough to create spawning stock.