• 'Bycatch' - the unintended catch of non-target species, that are either retained or discarded depending on the species. Click here to learn more.
  • Recreational fishing and shark derbies are only a small portion of shark exploitation. Click here to learn more.
  • Also See
    Sharks in Trouble - Hunters Become the Hunted PDF
  • "Death of a deity" by 333 Productions
  • Read more

Threats to sharks

Globally, sharks and their relatives are among the most threatened marine vertebrates on Earth. Large open-water ('pelagic') sharks are among the most threatened. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, it is estimated that 60% of pelagic sharks are currently threatened with extinction. As many of these species are wide-ranging top predators, their loss may have far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems.

Sharks have long been recognized as vulnerable species to overfishing, due to their slow growth, late maturity, low fecundity, and long life. Evidence indicates that many populations of shark species, including those that inhabit Atlantic Canadian waters, have drastically declined. This has sparked national and international concern in recent decades. While ‘bycatch’, the unintentional capture of non-target species in commercial fisheries is the most significant threat to sharks in Atlantic Canada, declining trends can be affected by one or several other key factors. These include but are not limited too, impacts from commercial and recreational exploitation, shark ‘finning’ (the removal of only the fins from sharks and discarding the remainder while at sea), and changes to the marine environment, such as habitat loss and climate changes.