The world’s Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) provide an avenue for swift conservation action throughout shark and ray species’ ranges. These international regulatory bodies are formed by countries with fishing interests in a particular area with power to set fishing limits and other obligations. RFMO decisions are critical to the sustainability of regional shark and ray populations, and can bring significant cascading benefits for other areas and species.

RFMO measures affect fishing on the international waters known as the high seas, but are also meant to result in complementary domestic measures that can reduce risks closer to shore, and in some cases, other oceans. RFMO policies:

  • directly address the main threat to sharks and rays (excessive fishing mortality);
  • apply to many countries at once; and
  • are often replicated at other RFMOs, potentially expanding safeguards globally.