What have we achieved?

The Oceanic Programme builds on the success of two previous collaborative programmes.

The Shark Alliance, formed in 2006. campaigned for an EU Shark Action Plan and to close loopholes in the EU’s ban on shark ‘finning’ The alliance was led by: The European Elasmobranch Association, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Project Aware and Shark Trust.

In 2009, the EU adopted a Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, setting the stage for sweeping improvements in shark fishing management and protection policies. 

In 2013, after years of debate and a complex political process, the alliance achieved the second of its objectives when the European Parliament and Council of Fisheries Ministers agreed to a regulation requiring that all sharks caught in EU waters or by EU boats globally had to be landed with their fins naturally attached, with no exceptions. 

The No Limits? campaign was launched by the Shark Trust in the wake of the historic 2013 finning regulation. The campaign provided a focus on establishing science-based catch limits to end uncontrolled shark fishing. Starting with the Blue Shark, the world's most heavily-fished shark. After the establishment of the Shark League. the international advocacy work yielded the first international catch limit for a shark species in 2019. 

Attention then switched to the extremely vulnerable Mako Shark. In 2021 after a 3-year campaign, ICCAT parties agreed a full retention ban on Shorten Mako in the North Atlantic. This was followed by a catch limit for South Atlantic makos in 2022. 

Bridging the Gaps that Hinder Shark Conservation

A new Shark League gap analysis highlights where shark fishing and trading nations are falling short after decades of conservation commitments made through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES, a global wildlife treaty) and the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, a regional fishery management organization). 

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Case Study: A Decade of Progress for the Blue Shark

Case Study: A decade of progress for the Blue Shark