Shark Fishing vs. Conservation: Analysis and Synthesis

Published on
03 August 2022

Shark Fishing vs. Conservation: Analysis and Synthesis

Ila France Porcher, Brian W. Darvell


The expanding shark fin market has resulted in intensive global shark fishing and with 90% of teleost fish stocks over-exploited, sharks have become the most lucrative target. As predators, they have high ecological value, are sensitive to fishing pressure, and are in decline, but the secretive nature of the fin trade and difficulties obtaining relevant data, obscure their true status. In consumer countries, shark fin is a luxury item and rich consumers pay high prices with little interest in sustainability or legal trade. Thus, market demand will continue to fuel the shark hunt and those accessible to fishing fleets are increasingly endangered. Current legal protections are not working, as exemplified by the case of the shortfin mako shark, and claims that sharks can be sustainably fished under these circumstances are shown to be misguided. In the interests of averting a catastrophic collapse across the planet’s aquatic ecosystems, sharks and their habitats must be given effective protection. We recommend that all sharks, chimaeras, manta rays, devil rays, and rhino rays be protected from international trade through an immediate CITES Appendix I listing. However, a binding international agreement for the protection of biodiversity in general is what is needed.

Sustainability 2022, 14, 9548, DOI: 10.3390/su14159548


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