scuba diver and whale shark underwater
Archived Project

Global Shark Conservation

Working with government leaders, scientists, fisheries experts, diplomats, and even survivors of shark attacks, Pew works to highlight the plight of sharks from overfishing and to urge countries to take action to conserve them.

Protecting Sharks Globally

The Global Shark Conservation Campaign works within countries to raise awareness about the global decline of sharks, their importance to healthy marine ecosystems, and their benefit to local economies. Since 2009, the following countries have established shark sanctuaries—permanently protecting the sharks that swim in their waters by closing their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) to commercial shark fishing covering 12.6 million square kilometers (4.8 million square miles) of ocean area—and have joined the call for other countries to establish shark sanctuaries in their waters and on the high seas:

  • Palau— EEZ: 604,289 km2 (233,317 sq. mi.)
  • Maldives— EEZ: 916,189 km2 (353,743 sq. mi.)
  • Honduras— EEZ: 240,240 km2 (92,757 sq. mi.)
  • The Bahamas— EEZ: 629,293 km2 (242,971 sq. mi.)
  • Tokelau— EEZ: 319,031 km2 (123,178 sq. mi.)
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands— EEZ: 1,992,232 km2 (769,205 sq. mi.)
  • French Polynesia— EEZ: 4,767,242km2 (1,840,642.426 sq. mi)
  • Cook Islands— EEZ: 1,960,135km2 (756,812.355 sq. mi)
  • New Caledonia— EEZ: 1,245,000km2 (480,697.1874 sq. mi)

Sharks caught in high seas fisheries are among the ocean’s most vulnerable animals. There are few limits on the number of sharks that can be caught and almost no rules. As a result, more than half of the shark species caught in the open ocean are threatened or near threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Pew works at the United Nations and at regional fisheries management organizations to advocate for science-based management of sharks, that all fishing nations adopt and implement management plans to ensure the recovery of depleted shark populations, and that they stop catching sharks that are threatened or near threatened with extinction.