Protecting Sharks and Rays

More than 100 million sharks and rays are killed each year for their fins, meat, livers, and gills. This has the potential to negatively impact marine ecosystems and billions of people who rely on our oceans for their food and livelihoods.
Reversing the Decline
To help reverse the decline of shark and ray populations, we’re using data insights and scientific studies to better understand impacted populations and increase awareness and advocacy. We’re also supporting programs that implement and enforce conservation and management policies.

Generating Foundational Data

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the more than 1,200 species of sharks and rays. We’re using innovative technologies to provide critical data that’s fueling conservation efforts while helping increase our knowledge of their population trends, drivers, and abundance.

Global FinPrint

This five-year study is the world’s first definitive, global survey data of shark density and diversity in various coral reef ecosystems. Global FinPrint showed that sharks are functionally extinct on many of the world’s coral reefs with no sharks observed in nearly 20% of the 58 countries surveyed. It also identified conservation measures to support the recovery of these critical species.* 

Read about Global FinPrint's results in Nature. See the full story on CBS. Learn more about what the data means and read a Q&A with the lead investigators

Florida International University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, Curtin University, Dalhousie University

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Validating Environmental DNA for Sharks

This research compares and validates two emerging Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods to measure relative abundance and diversity of sharks and rays. This technique has the potential to significantly scale surveys of sharks and rays.*

Florida International University, Florida Program for Shark Research, Chondricthyan Tree of Life, University of Salford, Stony Brook University, Shark Conservation Fund


Ensuring Compliance

Changing the downward trajectory of shark and ray populations requires enforcement and implementation of on-the-ground conservation measures. We’re focusing on collaborative initiatives to monitor and detect the illegal trade of sharks while engaging partners to increase funding that helps enforce existing laws and regulations.

Shark Conservation Fund

As a founding member of the Shark Conservation Fund (SCF), our investments are having a positive impact. They’re being used to regulate and combat unsustainable trade of sharks and rays. Our funding is also assisting more than 65 countries as they implement CITES regulations, create new marine protected areas, expand endangered species listings, and assist fisheries to establish catch limits.*

Oceans 5, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Moore Charitable Foundation, Volgenau Family Foundation

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DNA Toolkit

Shark fins are difficult to detect and often pass through ports uninspected because of a lack of technology and resources. The DNA Toolkit provides inspectors with a quick, cost-effective, reliable method to test shark tissue samples and identify CITES-listed sharks to help meet CITES obligations and reduce illegal trade.*

Florida International University, Bloom Association Hong Kong


Driving Policy and Awareness

Unsustainable fishing practices, international demand for limited products, and poorly controlled trade pose the greatest threat to sharks and rays. To combat these forces, we’re helping establish stronger policies while also building public awareness and advocacy.

CITES for Sharks

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement that seeks to ensure the trade of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. We worked with our partners to add more than 30 species of sharks and rays to this global treaty which mandates improved management and conservation measures in 182 countries.

Humane Society International, Wildlife Conservation Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Pew Charitable Trust, Shark Conservation Fund 

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