Among one of the slowest growing sharks in the world, the dusky shark takes 20 years to reach maturity and has a 16 month gestation period. This low rate of increase makes dusky sharks particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
Globally, the dusky shark is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. The Gulf of Mexico population suffered a 79 percent decline between the 1950s and the 1990s. Their main threats include overfishing and bycatch on commercial longlines in the swordfish and tuna fishery.
The dusky and sandbar sharks are hard to distinguish, especially when their fins are removed. As a result, managers are unable to determine the number of each species being caught and what the necessary protection measures should be.
Oceana is working to require all sharks in the United States to be landed whole with their fins naturally attached. Oceana gained a victory in 2008 when sharks were required to be landed whole in the federal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.