01/27/2011 - Two environmental groups have accused the 20 countries that catch the most sharks of failing to fulfill promises to better conserve the animals.
In 1999, more than 100 governments adopted a plan of action at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to try to stem overfishing of sharks since 30 percent of all shark species are threatened or nearly threatened with extinction.
The non-governmental groups Traffic and the Pew Environment Group said Thursday that only 13 of the top 20 shark catching countries had developed national plans, and that it was unclear if such plans had done any good where they were adopted.
Jill Hepp, manager of shark conservation for Pew, said sharks play a critical role in the ocean environment.
"Where shark populations are healthy, marine life thrives; but where they have been overfished, ecosystems fall out of balance," she said.
Read the full article Top 20 Shark-Catching Nations Accused of Failings on ABC News' Web site.