Sharks are among the oceans’ most vulnerable yet under‐protected animals. Sharks in the Atlantic and Mediterranean are particularly at risk. We urgently need to protect them from overfishing and finning. To do this we're working to secure:

  • Shark and ray catch limits that align with scientific advice
  • Strict protections for endangered species
  • Strong, enforceable bans on shark finning


  • Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing due to their biology. They grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young.

  • Many populations have been seriously overfished, putting entire ecosystems at risk. Populations are targeted by fisheries but are also caught as bycatch and retained.

  • Most countries lack catch limits for key species. As many species swim across national boundaries, they're fished by vessels from several countries.

  • The wasteful practice of shark finning remains a threat. Despite finning bans being in place, weak legislation could still be allowing this to go on undetected.


The world’s RFMOs provide hope for swift conservation action. These international regulatory bodies are formed by countries with fishing interests in a particular area. They have the power to set fishing limits and other obligations. And their decisions are critical to the sustainability of regional shark populations.

RFMO measures affect fishing on the international waters known as the high seas. But they’re also meant to result in complementary domestic measures. These can reduce risks closer to shore, and in some cases, other oceans.

RFMO policies:

  • directly address excessive fishing mortality
  • apply to many countries at once
  • are often replicated at other RFMOs, potentially expanding safeguards globally

We'll be focusing our efforts on the following RFMOs, who stand out when it comes to taking action for sharks:

  • The International Commission for the Conservation of Tunas (ICCAT) - we’re urging Parties to adopt international catch limits for Shortfin Mako and Blue Shark. And to strengthen the finning ban by requiring all sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached.

  • The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) – we’re urging the GFCM to address non-compliance with the shark and ray measure. And for its Parties to immediately adopt the corresponding national bans as agreed in 2012.

  • The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) – we’re urging NAFO Parties to reduce skate quotas to align with scientific advice. As well as to safeguard deep-sea sharks.

Download the SLAM Factsheet (pdf)

Visit the SLAM website