Modern fishing practices pose the greatest threat to the survival of sharks. Because sharks produce few young each year and are slow to reach reproductive maturity, they can't withstand the growing pressure of the global fishing fleet.
It's estimated that 100 million sharks, skates and rays are caught and killed each yearand that half of these are accidental victims of fishing gear that targets other species of commercial fish. New scientific studies estimate that some populations of large sharks and other top ocean predators have fallen by as much as 90 percent due to accelerated fishing activities in recent decades.
Your consumer choices are the key to a future where healthy oceans are rich with sharks and other wildlife.
Avoid all shark productsfrom shark-fin soup to shark-cartilage pills, and all souvenirs like jaws and teeth that came from living sharks.
Support conservation groups that are working to protect sharks and the sea. With their power and influenceand your supportconservation groups can do much more than any of us alone.
Support marine reserves. Many species of sharks and rays return to the same place to breed where they were bornso setting aside these areas is crucial to maintaining their populations. For more information, read the Pew Oceans Report on Marine Reserves.
People around the world are working to protect these magnificent animals. You can help by promoting shark conservation.
Reducing Bycatch Each year, millions of sharks are accidentally killed in fisheries that target other animals, like shrimp and tuna. DSL/T1 (1.4MB)
Catching Fewer Sharks Many shark species are overfished, since fishermen in most regions can catch as many sharks as they want. DSL/T1 (1.4MB)
Banning Shark Finning Most sharks are killed solely for their fins, while the rest of the shark is thrown overboard as waste. DSL/T1 (1.4MB)
Seafood Watch: Our Seafood Watch program helps you choose seafood from sustainable fisheries that protect sharks and other ocean wildlife.
Tagging of Pacific Pelagics: We're collaborating with dozens of scientists on a project to study how sharks and other open ocean animals use the North Pacific Ocean to travel, feed and reproduce.
White Shark Research: We’re engaged in a multi-year project to study young white sharks off Southern California. One of our goals is to better understand the life history of these threatened ocean predators.
The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.