Analysis details problems and recommends remedies for aligning nations’ commitments and actions

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London, November 9, 2023.  A new Shark League gap analysis highlights where shark fishing and trading nations are falling short after decades of conservation commitments made through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES, a global wildlife treaty) and the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, a regional fishery management organization). The authors:

Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: New Shark Conservation Report Launched at Atlantic Tuna Meeting Targets Troublesome Gaps


An analysis of ICCAT Parties’ policies for CITES-listed Atlantic elasmobranchs

Analyzing pivotal international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the Shark League’s latest analysis, “Bridging the Gaps that Hinder Shark Conservation,” scrutinizes the efficacy of existing conservation initiatives and recommends essential improvements.

Continue reading New Report: Bridging the Gaps that Hinder Shark Conservation


Shortfin and longfin mako sharks were listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in August 2019. CITES Parties will soon be required to demonstrate that mako exports are sourced from legal, sustainable fisheries.

At their annual meeting in November, member governments of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), all of which are CITES Parties, will consider fishing restrictions to protect shortfin makos in the North Atlantic. Earlier this year, ICCAT scientists underscored previous warnings that this population is continuing to decline from serious overfishing, and reiterated their advice for a full ban on retention.

The Shark League coalition has appealed to fisheries and environment authorities in all ICCAT Parties to work together to ensure this advice is immediately heeded, in line with government obligations under both ICCAT and CITES. The ICCAT Parties that co-proposed the CITES listing for makos, including the EU, have a responsibility to lead in these efforts. So far, however, only one Party – Senegal – has stepped up to propose a mako ban.


Source: The Guardian

Author: Karen McVeigh

A record number of countries voted to restrict fishing of mako sharks in an effort to protect the endangered species.

A record number of countries have voted to protect the world’s fastest shark from extinction in a move welcomed by conservationists as a “wake up call” for fishing nations who have ignored the endangered species’ decline.

In Geneva this week, governments voted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to regulate the international trade in both species of mako shark – long and short fin – in addition to 16 vulnerable species of sharks and rays.

Mako sharks, the “cheetahs of the ocean”, can reach speeds of up to 43mph. They are overfished worldwide, but the shortfin mako is considered especially vulnerable in the North Atlantic. EU vessels, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, were responsible for 65% of all reported catches of shortfin makos in the North Atlantic from January to June in 2018, according to the Shark Trust, and have not been subject to any limit on catch.

Read more.


Makos, Wedgefishes, and Giant Guitarfishes listed under CITES with support from more than 100 countries

Conservation groups are praising today’s confirmation that all species of Wedgefishes, Giant Guitarfishes, and Mako Sharks will be added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The listings mandate that countries track exports as well as high seas take, and demonstrate that internationally traded products from these species are legally sourced from sustainable fisheries.

“Today’s decisions offer promise of a brighter future for these highly threatened shark and ray species, as international trade has been a major factor in depletion of their slow growing populations,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. “CITES listing can help end unsustainable use of Makos, Wedgefishes, and Giant Guitarfishes by prompting improved trade data and much-needed limits on exploitation, while complementing other conservation commitments. As fishing is the main threat to sharks and rays, it’s essential that countries’ CITES representatives work with their national fisheries agency counterparts to ensure that the new obligations are carried out over the coming months.”

Shortfin Makos, exceptionally valuable and vulnerable oceanic sharks, are at risk from targeted and incidental fishing driven by demand for meat and fins. A lack of limits on take is leading to overfishing and a worldwide decreasing trend. Both the Shortfin Mako and the rarer Longfin Mako Shark are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The North Atlantic offers the clearest case of Shortfin Mako overfishing and decline. In 2019, scientists associated with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) reported that North Atlantic Shortfin Mako catches need to be cut by roughly an order of magnitude (~3000 to ~300 tonnes per year) to give the population a decent (60%) chance of recovering within five decades. Taking into account incidental mortality, ICCAT scientists are recommending a complete ban on North Atlantic Shortfin Mako retention.

“Considering that Spain leads the world in Mako Shark landings, we’re encouraged that the European Union co-sponsored the proposal to list Makos under CITES,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust. “We urge the EU to underscore this commitment through proposals to immediately ban North Atlantic Shortfin Mako retention and establish concrete catch limits to ensure Mako landings from all other oceans are sustainable. As virtually all fishing countries are CITES Parties, we’ll be watching for support for such Mako limits at regional fisheries bodies around the world, starting with ICCAT in November.“

Wedgefishes and Giant Guitarfishes, collectively known as Rhino Rays (after their pointy snouts), are considered the world’s most threatened marine fishes. All but one of these 16 shark-like ray species have been classified as Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List.  Their fins are among the most valuable in the global shark fin trade. The coastal fisheries that target or retain Rhino Rays as bycatch are poorly monitored, essentially unregulated, and increasingly intense.

“Rhino Rays are seriously threatened by demand for fins and food, but these extraordinary species have the potential to offer long-term, sustainable benefits as key attractions for ecotourism, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Ian Campbell, Associate Director for Project AWARE. “We are deeply grateful to the many divers who joined us in voicing support for the CITES listings. We now look forward to working with this network and our other partners toward ensuring prompt and full implementation of the international conservation commitments made today.”

Media contact: Patricia Roy email:, Tel: +34 696 905 907

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