Sharks caught in high-seas fisheries are among the oceans' most vulnerable animals. Their low reproductive rates make them particularly susceptible to overfishing in the face of increased demand for shark products. More than half of the shark species taken in high-seas fisheries are classified as Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The United Nations has passed eight Resolutions calling on Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) to improve the management of shark fisheries. The U.N. International Plan of Action for Sharks called on RFMOs more than a decade ago to develop regional plans of action to conserve sharks.