Report | May 4, 2010

Shark alert. Revealing Europe’s impact on shark population

Europe is playing a lead role in the overfishing, waste, and depletion of the world’s sharks. Despite improved management instruments and growing public concern, European Union (EU) restrictions on shark finning remain among the weakest in the world and no overall plan to manage EU shark fisheries and restore depleted populations exists. Because of sharks’ importance as predators in ocean ecosystems and Europe’s strong influence on global fisheries policy, EU shark fishing regulations have a wide-reaching effect on the world’s oceans. Because of sharks’ biological vulnerability to overfishing (due to slow growth and few young), mismanagement of shark populations can happen quickly and take many decades to repair.