Coastal sharks supply the global shark fin trade

Published on
28. October 2020

Coastal sharks supply the global shark fin trade

Kyle S. Van Houtan, Tyler O. Gagné, Gabriel Reygondeau, Kisei R. Tanaka, Stephen R. Palumbi, Salvador J. Jorgensen


Progress in global shark conservation has been limited by constraints to understanding the species composition and geographic origins of the shark fin trade. Previous assessments that relied on earlier genetic techniques and official trade records focused on abundant pelagic species traded between Europe and Asia. Here, we combine recent advances in DNA barcoding and species distribution modelling to identify the species and source the geographic origin of fins sold at market. Derived models of species environmental niches indicated that shark fishing effort is concentrated within Exclusive Economic Zones, mostly in coastal Australia, Indonesia, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. By coupling two distinct tools, barcoding and niche modelling, our results provide new insights for monitoring and enforcement. They suggest stronger local controls of coastal fishing may help regulate the unsustainable global trade in shark fins.

Biol. Lett.1620200609, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0609


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