A lot of scientific advice for shark and ray fishing limits has yet to be adopted, particularly for targeted and / or commercially valuable species, but momentum toward more responsible fishing has been building. Improved management by the RFMOs governing Atlantic and Mediterranean fisheries is overdue and essential for the effective conservation of scores of shark and ray species, and could set strong precedents for other regions.

RFMOs are international organisations formed by countries with fishing interests in an area. Some of them manage all the fish stocks found in a specific area, while others focus on particular highly-migratory species, throughout vast geographical areas.

These RFMOs stand out when it comes to actions for sharks and rays:

  • ICCAT was the first to assess the status of shark populations and ban finning;
  • GFCM has adopted the most sweeping shark / ray measure (24 species banned in 2012); and
  • NAFO has the only internationally allocated shark/ray quota (for skates).