Our work is deeply rooted in science and the principles of sustainability. Science removes guesswork. It enables us to make informed decisions, so we can direct our efforts where it's needed most and get results.


Our priorities are shaped by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. It supports scientific research and manages field projects all over the world. Bringing together governments, Non Government Organisation's, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities.

The IUCN's most recent analysis on sharks compiles the most comprehensive data we have to date on sharks. It's a vital resource. Knowing where and how a species lives, as well as the threats it faces, is key. Without this information we wouldn't know how to protect them.

Sharks, skates, rays and chimaera, are among the world's most threatened animals

The IUCN analysis shows that the sharks at highest risk are the large shallow water species, such as angel sharks. But it's the rays (such as skates, sawfishes, and guitarfishes) that are the most at risk. Yet these are generally given less attention than their more charismatic relatives.

An estimated 1/4 of all shark, skate, ray and chimaera species are threatened with extinction. Almost half are listed as Data Deficient. This means that we don't have enough information to assess how threatened they are. Many of these - the “lost” sharks and rays – haven't been seen for decades and may already be extinct.

IUCN Red List Status Categories

Species referred to as threatened are those listed as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).

  • Extinct (EX) - No known individuals remaining.

  • Extinct in the Wild (EW) - Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalised population.

  • Critically Endangered (CR) - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

  • Endangered (EN) - Very high risk of extinction in the wild.

  • Vulnerable (VU) - High risk of extinction in the wild.

  • Near Threatened (NT) - Likely to become endangered in the near future.

  • Least Concern (LC) - Lowest risk of extinction.

  • Data Deficient (DD) - Not enough data to make an assessment. It's vital that we find out more about these species. In particular, what impacts fishing and other pressures are having on their populations. Without this crucial information there's no scientific basis to intervene. These species could all too easily end up on the ever growing list of 'lost sharks'.

  • Not Evaluated (NE) - Has not yet been evaluated.

The infographic below shows the number of shark, skate and ray species listed under each IUCN Red List Category as of 2015:

► Find out how we're involved with the Global Sharks & Rays Initiative (GSRI) and the ambitious 10-year plan to ensure a positive future for sharks and rays.

Our campaigns target sustainability and the need for better data to manage fisheries. Many of our other projects are collaborative in nature and revolve around putting science at the heart of shark conservation. This can include using data from our citizen science projects to inform conservation action. 


Visit our Get Involved section to find out what you can do to help Save Sharks today!

Get Involved

Useful Links:

IUCN Red List Website

IUCN Paper - Extinction Risk and Conservation of the World’s Sharks and Rays - eLife website

IUCN Status Report for Northeast Atlantic Sharks (pdf)

IUCN Status Report for Mediterranean Sharks (pdf)