The Problem

Most sharks and rays are inherently susceptible to overfishing because they grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young. Many populations are depleted or at serious risk from overfishing through targeted and incidental catches that are too often unregulated. Many species swim across national boundaries and are fished by vessels from several countries. The wasteful practice of “finning” (slicing off a shark’s valuable fins and discarding the body at sea) remains a threat as too many finning bans allow shark fins to be removed at sea while relying on a complicated ratio of fins to bodies landed for enforcement, instead of the most reliable method: prohibiting at‐sea fin removal and requiring that fins remain attached through landing.