Tawny nurse shark threats
The Tawny Nurse Shark is caught throughout its range in industrial and small-scale longline, gillnet, trawl, and handline fisheries that occur in the waters around coral reefs and other complex habitats. There is little species-specific information on catches, and the magnitude of catches is poorly understood, especially in those areas where population reductions have been the greatest. The species is rarely targeted, except for use as an aquarium display species, because its meat and fins are considered of low value. It is often discarded, but is retained in some nations, including India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. In recent years, it has only been rarely observed at fish landing sites in Indonesia where it is caught mostly by demersal longline and coastal gillnet vessels. For example, Winter et al. (2020) reporting it made up 0.1% of the elasmobranch catch landed at the port of Muncar in 2017–2018. In the Andaman Islands (India) it is caught mostly in the grouper demersal longline fishery, but also occasionally in trawls. In India, this species is caught in line and gillnet fisheries with landings ranged between from 1 to 84 t per year on the west coast for 2010–2015 (K.K. Bineesh unpubl. data 2020). In Sri Lanka, this species is caught incidentally, and the meat is considered to be of low quality and value. This is a common display species in public and private aquaria. It is exported live from countries such as Australia and Indonesia to aquaria worldwide, but this trade is small compared to catches in fisheries.
The reliance of this species on coral reefs makes it susceptible to declines in habitat quality. Global climate change has already resulted in large-scale coral bleaching events with increasing frequency causing worldwide reef degradation. Almost all warm-water coral reefs are projected to suffer significant losses of area and local extinctions, even if global warming is limited to 1.5ºC (IPCC Report, 2019). Destructive fishing practices in some nations (e.g., dynamite fishing) (McManus 1997) and declining water quality (MacNeil et al. 2019) have also led to the decline in coral reef habitat.