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Threats Facing Sharks



Bycatch is a term used to refer to any species which are caught accidentally while fishing for other “target” species. It is responsible for mortality in a wide range of species: non-target fish, seabirds, whales, dolphins, turtles and sharks. A great deal of bycatch is discarded at sea and never appears in the records. Where bycatch must be reported, it is often under-reported.

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Over Fishing

whale shark

Photo: C Fallows

As apex predators, sharks are not designed for heavy predation, either by other marine species or by humans. Whether caught in directed fisheries or as bycatch, most shark species are unable to withstand protracted periods of heavy exploitation. Compounding the problem is the unsustainable industrial scale harvesting of millions of tons of fish from the oceans each year, ultimately impacting on shark populations further.

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Shark Finning

shark finning

Photo: J Rotman

Globally an estimated 23-73 million sharks are finned each year. Shark finning is defined as the on-board removal of a sharks fins and the discarding of the carcass at sea. This process is as wasteful as slaughtering a rhino for its horn or an elephant for its tusks.

Shark finning is occurring uncontrolled in the majority of the worlds oceans.  How can it be 73 million?

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