TRAFFIC Logo

Wildlife Trade Specialists

Sharks and rays restoring the balance to the oceans

a return to healthy populations of sharks and rays

Modern forms of sharks and rays first emerged over 150 million years ago. But the introduction of modern fishing techniques has spelled disaster for these ancient creatures. Irresponsible and unsustainable fishing practices has led to a massive decline in shark numbers—a huge jolt to ocean ecosystems in little over 50 years.

The most serious declines have been in the Coral Triangle and the Mediterranean. Many shark species are slow growing, late to mature and produce few young, making them highly susceptible to over-fishing. Sharks are caught both for their fins—eaten as a delicacy in sharks fin soup in Asia, and for their meat, with Europe a major market. Removal of these key predators from the food chain has serious consequences for marine ecosystems, which in turn has repercussions for people everywhere, threatening local livelihoods and food security.

100 million

sharks are killed every year

400

different species of sharks have been recorded in our oceans

~50%

of the Mediterranean's shark and ray species are at risk of extinction according to IUCN

deep sea gillnets

are responsible for dangerous levels of bycatch in many parts of the world

over 14,000

tonnes of shark fins were exported into Singapore between 2005–2007 and 2012–2014

Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC's Programme Leader for Fisheries trade

Many of our oceans are being dangerously over-exploited, threatening species of sharks and rays across the world. Traceability is essential to ensure sustainable trade

Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC's Programme Leader for Fisheries trade

our recent work on shark and ray trade

sharks and rays
Play

sharks and rays

sustainability and traceability in Singapore

Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange
Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange

The African and European Union Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange's are online tools developed to facilitate information exchange and international co-operation between law enforcement agencies.

TWIX's

Global Shark and Ray Initiative
Global Shark and Ray Initiative

The goal of the GSRI is that by 2025, the conservation status of the world’s sharks and rays has improved–declines have been halted, extinctions have been prevented, and commitments to their conservation have increased globally.

GSRI