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Strategies for Shark and Ray Conservation

With fossil records dating back 400 million years, sharks have outlived the dinosaurs and many other forms of life currently on earth. There are more than 1,200 species of sharks and rays, with new species discovered every year. 

Yet these majestic predators so essential to the natural order of marine ecosystems, now face their most severe threat -- overfishing. Over 1/3 of all species are now threatened with extinction, with some families of rays, such as guitarfishes, wedgefishes, or sawfishes in particular peril. While sharks and rays have been an irreplaceable resource for coastal communities in the developing world for centuries, this unique balance is in danger of being lost forever.

With our oceans severely degraded, restoring sharks and rays is key to improving the resiliance of these water bodies to climate change. While the diverse range of shark and ray species adds complexity to our conservation efforts, the dwindling numbers of these amazing creatures from overfishing and demand for their fins and meat increase the urgency of the task. Through our multi-pronged strategies, and guided by the Global Priorities for Conserving Sharks and Rays - A 2015-2025 Strategy, we strive to restore the balance between humans and sharks. 

Andy Cornish / WWF

Find out more about sharks and rays, including the threats they face.

Saving species from extinction, driving responsible management, ensuring traceable and sustainable trade, and reducing unsustainable consumption.

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Working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature.

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