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Paul Cox | Shark Trust
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Paul Cox | Shark Trust

Read the word ‘shark’ and chances are that the image that pops into your head will be pretty much the same image that will pop into the heads of many of the people around you: a big, scary, sinister, dangerous animal. With sharp teeth. The truth, like most things in nature, is far more interesting of course. Sharks are actually an incredibly varied group of animals. There are around 500 extant species, with new species being discovered almost every year – in fact, roughly a fifth of current living sharks and the closely-related rays have been described since 2002. The smallest shark is less than 20 cm long - the largest, the Whale Shark, can grow to around 12 metres, weigh 19000kg, and feeds almost exclusively on plankton. They are also one of the planet’s most beautifully evolved but most threatened predators: over 100 million sharks are caught each year and many species are in sharp decline. Charlie Moores went to meet Paul Cox, managing director of UK-based charity Shark Trust, to find out more about protecting and promoting these fascinating fish...