A landmark 2021 report highlighted the specific threats faced by 31 species of oceanic sharks and rays. Sharp declines in populations over a 50-year period are attributed directly to an 18-fold increase in fishing pressure over the same timeframe. Now three-quarters of these species are classed as threatened.

Radical improvements in fisheries management are urgently needed to reverse the decline and put these species on a road to recovery.

Fisheries Management Works

Research on wide-ranging shark species in the West Atlantic has demonstrated the benefits of fisheries management. Where rigorously applied, shark populations can rebuild and improve their conservation status. But the authors noted the importance of international agreements “such that successful conservation in one country is not undone by less regulated fishing areas outside their borders.” 

So a multi-national approach is needed. Seeking to create consistency between countries and in international waters. This is the driving force behind our oceanic programme.

Regional Fisheries Management

Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) are international organisations that manage, conserve and protect high seas, straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. RFMOs are tasked with collecting fisheries statistics, assessing resources, making management decisions and monitoring activities. Some RFMOs have a purely advisory role. But most have management powers to set catch and fishing effort limits, technical measures, and control obligations.

There are approximately 17 RFMOs covering various geographic areas, some of which overlap.

Five are the so-called tuna RFMOs, which manage fisheries for tuna and other large species, including sharks.

Together, the five tuna RFMOs have responsibility for managing fisheries in approximately 91 percent of the world's oceans. 

We are founder partners of the Shark League. This is an international coalition focused on Responsible Regional Conservation of Sharks & Rays through engagement with RFMO’s. Its goals are to secure:

·       Shark and ray catch limits that align with scientific advice,

·       Strict protections for endangered species, and

·       Strong, enforceable bans on shark finning.

We have observer status in the following RFMO’s. Enabling us to monitor, participate in meetings and influence decision-making

Through the Shark League partnership we also monitor and contribute to: