Like many animals in the world, the biggest threat to sharks comes from humans.


OVERFISHING

The biggest threat currently facing sharks is overfishing. Today we have bigger and faster boats that make it easier to catch lots more fish. Including sharks. But when we catch too many too quickly we cause an imbalance in the ocean. Sharks can't reproduce fast enough to replace those being caught. And the number of sharks in our oceans drops. If we don't act quickly many species could become extinct.


BYCATCH

Species caught in nets or hooks meant for other fish are known as bycatch. Sharks are often caught as bycatch. As a shark needs to keep moving to breathe, many die before they can be released.


SHARK FINNING

There's huge demand for shark fins, which are often used to make Shark Fin Soup. This can result in shark finning. This is where fishermen cut the fins off of a shark and throw the body back in the sea. Often the shark is still alive. Although banned in many places, loopholes in the law could still let this happen.


SHARK PRODUCTS

Sharks are sold for their meat and fins. And are used in a variety of other products. Some of which may be surprising! Especially as many products don't clearly label shark as an ingredient. The sharks used in these products are likely to have been caught by fisheries that overfish sharks. So, we recommend avoiding these products and checking labels carefully.

Look out for:

  • Shark Meat & Fins - we recommend buying sustainably sourced fish. This'll encourage fisheries to fish our seas responsibly.

  • Shark Liver Oil - often labelled squalene, squalane or chondroitin. This is used in many cosmetics including, creams, deodorants, sun tan lotion and lipstick.

  • Shark Cartilage - sold as a health supplement. Even though there’s no evidence that taking this has any health benefits.

  • Shark Leather - known as shagreen. This is used to make luxury goods such as wallets, shoes, bags and furniture. It’s very popular in the United States, northern Europe and Japan.

  • Shark Teeth & Jaws - often used in jewellery or sold as souvenirs.


HABITAT DESTRUCTION

When a habitat is damaged or destroyed, the animals that depend on it for food and shelter may struggle to survive.


POLLUTION

Toxic chemicals poison marine life and damage ecosystems. Many marine animals die from choking on, or becoming entangled in litter. Humans are also affected when we eat contaminated fish, swim in the sea or go to the beach.


Many shark species are now among the most endangered on our planet!

We want, and need, to keep sharks in our oceans. Not only because they’re such amazing animals but because they’re vital to keeping our oceans healthy.

Many sharks, like the White Shark, are top predators. So they play a very important role in the ecosystem. They prey on the sick and old, which stops the spread of disease and improves the gene pool. They also keep other animals in check. And not only by eating them. They affect their behaviour too.

For example, Tiger Sharks help preserve sea grass, and all the animals that rely on this for food and shelter. How? They scare off sea turtles. When a turtle sees a Tiger Shark they swim away to another area to graze. This stops them from eating all the grass in one area.

How Can You Help Sharks?