As France prepares to co-host the 3rd United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC) in Nice in June 2025, the Shark League has issued a joint letter to Minister Hervé Berville, highlighting key actions needed to prioritize shark conservation under Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14). These actions include sustainable trade, bycatch minimization, and strict protection for highly threatened species.

Download the full letter in English and French.

Continue reading UNOC Call to Action for Shark Conservation: A Joint Letter to Minister Hervé Berville


EU promotes whale shark protection and risky blue shark quotas as Japan blocks finning measure

The Press Release is available in French and Spanish

Cairo, Egypt. November 20, 2023.  The Shark League member groups are heralding conservation advances for imperiled Atlantic sharks and rays at this year’s meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) while warning that new measures are still insufficiently cautious to properly safeguard such inherently vulnerable species.  ICCAT Parties agreed provisional protections for mantas and devil rays, as well as whale sharks, reduced quotas for heavily fished blue sharks, and improved processes for ensuring that nations comply with ICCAT fishing and data reporting requirements. Many of the improvements reflect recommendations made in a new Shark League gap analysis.

Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: Atlantic manta ray and blue shark conservation advances under UK leadership


At the 2023 ICCAT Annual Meeting, Parties have the opportunity to continue leading the world in international management of heavily fished blue sharks while catching up to other Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) in the protection of endangered, filter-feeding elasmobranchs and the prevention of finning. Immediate action — based on science and the precautionary approach — is clearly warranted to safeguard these and other exceptionally vulnerable species.

Continue reading ICCAT 2023: POSITION STATEMENT


A collective effort by 20 Environmental Organizations is underway to address pressing issues in Atlantic tuna fisheries and ecosystems at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The letter, directed to Heads of Delegation, provides specific recommendations for sustainable tuna management.

Continue reading ICCAT 2023 NGO Advocacy Letter


Information Submitted to the ICCAT Compliance Committee, July 16th, 2023

The ICCAT Executive Secretary has forwarded our concerns to all Parties asking for responses by 14 October to be considered by the Committee at the Annual Meeting in November.


Fishery managers agree groundbreaking safeguards for CITES-listed, South Atlantic population

This post is also available in: Français (French)

Faro, Portugal. November 21, 2022.  The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) today agreed the world’s first population-wide fishing quota for highly vulnerable shortfin mako sharks. ICCAT set a South Atlantic catch limit (to cover landings as well as mortality from discarding) within the level recommended by scientists in 2019 and made allocations to individual fishing Parties that are calculated to cut their landings of the Endangered species by 40-60%. The agreement stems from a more precautionary proposal by the European Union and United Kingdom to extend a 2021 ban on particularly depleted North Atlantic shortfin makos to the South Atlantic. Pushback from Namibia and South Africa resulted in negotiations for short-term limits instead.

Continue reading First International Mako Shark Quota Adopted


Northwest Atlantic fishing nations ban retention of longest-lived vertebrate

Porto, September 23, 2022. Today, the mysterious Greenland shark – thought to have the longest lifespan of any vertebrate – was granted new, historic protections by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) on the final day of its annual meeting. The US and Canada, with support from the UK and the EU, proposed and secured a science-based ban on retaining the species from international waters.

“The incredibly slow growing, long-lived, and wide-ranging Greenland shark clearly deserves the precautionary international protection that was agreed today,” said Sonja Fordham, president of Shark Advocates International, who testified in support of the proposed ban on behalf of the Shark League coalition. “We thank the United States and Canada for their steadfast efforts over several years to secure science-based safeguards for this extraordinary animal and we urge all Parties to adopt similar protections for their waters.”

Scientists have estimated that Greenland sharks may live 400 years and don’t reproduce until about age 150, leaving populations exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing. In 2018, the NAFO Scientific Council recommended a complete ban on retaining Greenland sharks, along with measures to collect information and minimize incidental mortality associated with “bycatch.” That year, the US and EU secured catch reporting requirements and a partial ban (on targeting the species in international waters).

The new measure bans Greenland shark fishing, retention, transshipment, and landing (part or whole) and applies to international waters of the Northwest Atlantic. Exceptions are possible where domestic bans on discarding fish apply (Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, and Greenland), but only for dead Greenland sharks captured incidentally; commercial profit from such landings is prohibited. Parties also underscored previous commitments to report on efforts to minimize incidental catches and mortality of Greenland sharks. NAFO scientists will continue their work to identify times and areas where Greenland shark bycatch is high and will provide additional conservation advice in 2024.

“As we celebrate this important shark conservation advance, we encourage NAFO Parties to follow up promptly with required reports on Greenland shark catches and bycatch mitigation,” said Shannon Arnold, marine policy coordinator for Ecology Action Centre. “This information is essential to the next key steps of identifying hotspots and changing fishing practices to minimize harm.”

Greenland sharks are associated with high latitudes of the North Atlantic and Arctic waters at depths to 3000 meters, but specimens have been reported as far south as Belize. Growing to more than six meters (21 feet), they were heavily fished in the early 1990s for liver oil. Today, Greenland sharks are primarily caught incidentally and sometimes used for their meat in Iceland and Greenland.

Media contact: Sonja Fordham email: Tel: +1 202 436 1468.

Notes to Editors: The Shark League is a coalition of Shark Advocates International (a project of The Ocean Foundation), Ecology Action Centre, Shark Trust, and PADI AWARE Foundation formed with support from the Shark Conservation Fund to advance science-based shark policies for the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

NAFO Contracting Parties include Canada, Cuba, Denmark (in respect to the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, France (in respect to Saint Pierre et Miquelon), Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the US.

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) 2022 Position Statement: Skates & Sharks