Preprint Review Version 5 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Shark conservation: Analysis and synthesis

Version 1 : Received: 3 February 2021 / Approved: 4 February 2021 / Online: 4 February 2021 (15:50:54 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 10 February 2021 / Approved: 11 February 2021 / Online: 11 February 2021 (17:02:51 CET)
Version 3 : Received: 17 March 2021 / Approved: 18 March 2021 / Online: 18 March 2021 (16:37:54 CET)
Version 4 : Received: 14 September 2021 / Approved: 15 September 2021 / Online: 15 September 2021 (10:54:13 CEST)
Version 5 : Received: 27 January 2022 / Approved: 28 January 2022 / Online: 28 January 2022 (11:13:01 CET)

How to cite: Porcher, I.F.; Darvell, B.W. Shark conservation: Analysis and synthesis. Preprints 2021, 2021020145. Porcher, I.F.; Darvell, B.W. Shark conservation: Analysis and synthesis. Preprints 2021, 2021020145.


The market for shark fin soup, a fashionable, high-end Chinese dish, has resulted in intensive shark fishing across all oceans. At the same time, 90% of teleost fish stocks are over-exploited, making sharks the most lucrative target: fisheries that have not previously hunted them are now. As top and middle predators, sharks have high ecological value and poor capacity to withstand fishing mortality, but though their numbers are plummeting, the secretive nature of the fin trade, along with the difficulties of obtaining relevant data, obscure their true status. In consumer countries, shark fin is a luxury item and rich consumers are willing to pay high prices. There is little interest in sustainability or legal trade. Thus market demand will continue to fuel the search for sharks and those accessible to fishing fleets are increasingly endangered. Current legal protections are not working, as is clearly seen in the case of the shortfin mako. Claims that sharks can withstand such targeted, industrial hunting and be sustainably fished under these circumstances are shown to be misguided. In the interests of averting a catastrophic collapse across the planet’s aquatic ecosystems, sharks must be given effective protection. We recommend that all sharks, chimaeras, manta rays, devil rays, and rhino rays be protected from international trade through an immediate CITES Appendix I listing. However, a binding international agreement for protection, not only of sharks, but of the loss of biodiversity in general, is what is most needed to allow marine and fresh water ecosystems to recover.


Shark conservation; finning


Biology and Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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