Sharks in the seas around us: How the Sea Around Us Project is working to shape our collective understanding of global shark fisheries
A report prepared for the Pew Environment Group by the Sea Around Us Project Pages: 53 p
2011 | PDF
Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
AbstractThe Chinese demand for shark fins to be served in shark fin soup has grown rapidly
since the 1980s. This growth has generated an increase in the number of fisheries
targeting sharks, and consequently the number of sharks caught worldwide each year. As
a result of increased fishing pressure, many species are currently threatened or at risk of
becoming threatened with extinction in the near future.
Prior to the recent increase in demand for shark fins, sharks were of low monetary
value and were considered relatively unimportant from a global economic standpoint.
Hence, shark fisheries were seen as warranting sparse research, reporting, regulation
and monitoring in many countries, especially at the species level. Although species
status, catch, and trade data for sharks have improved in recent years, many records
remain incomplete and difficult to access, and data are lacking for large spatial areas and
time periods. Furthermore, the accuracy of existing data has been challenged.
Sea Around Us Project researchers
are working to compile the best available
data and information related to sharks,
identify gaps, and fill in the blanks using
a variety of estimation and modelling
techniques. We present our results in
formats that are accessible and
convenient for scientists to use. Our
findings are being applied by scientists
and ecosystem modellers at the Sea
Around Us Project and elsewhere to
conduct studies that will help us better
understand the status of sharks, shape
global management policies, and
hopefully work toward a sustainable
future for shark species globally. An
overview of current projects is provided
in the Introduction.