Sharks & Rays | Oceana

Sharks have played a vital role in maintaining healthy oceans for hundreds of millions of years as a top predator. More than 450 species of sharks cruise the world’s oceans, ranging in size from 8 inches to a whopping 40 feet long. But today, nearly one in four sharks and their relatives are threatened with extinction. A major cause is the demand for shark fins. Every year, fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global fin trade.

Learn fun facts and how you can help your favorite sharks - from great white sharks to hammerhead sharks - by clicking a species below.

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May, 2012

23 Nations Support Shark Conservation in the Mediterranean

For the first time in its 60-year history, the FAO’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean took action for shark protection. The Commission adopted measures for the management and conservation of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean, the region of highest risk in the world for these fishes. Twenty-three Mediterranean countries endorsed a proposal from the EU that bans the unsustainable practice of shark finning, prohibits trawling in some sensitive near-shore habitats, and requires countries to collect and report data on catches of some threatened species.

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March, 2012

Alibaba.com Stops Selling Manta Ray Products

We asked our supporters to help us protect manta rays from being made into leather by asking Alibaba.com to take manta ray products off their website. Nearly 40,000 people responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened.

In response to our petition, the company announced that they will no longer include manta ray products on their website. In the past, they’ve taken down listings for shark fins and other unsustainable animal products. Now they will also refrain from selling animals protected under UN policies, including manta and devil rays.

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October, 2011

California Bans Trade of Shark Fins

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law making it illegal to sell, trade, possess, or distribute shark fins in California. With the governor's signature, the law completes a West Coast ban. California joined the ranks of Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii, who have all passed similar bans. The coastwide ban on the shark fin trade will help protect global populations of at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.

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July, 2011

Chile Bans Shark Finning

The Chilean National Congress unanimously passed a nationwide ban on shark finning. Oceana drafted the bill and campaigned for its passage.This groundbreaking decision came on the heels of a very similar ban passed by the United States Congress lin December 2010, and puts both countries at the forefront of shark conservation.

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December, 2010

Congress Ends Shark Finning in U.S. Waters

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate version of the Shark Conservation Act, clearing the final hurdle to ending shark finning in U.S. waters. The Shark Conservation Act improves the existing law originally intended to prevent shark finning. It also allows the U.S. to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous, labelling the U.S. as a continued leader in shark conservation.

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June, 2015

Texas Bans Shark Fin Sales

Texas became the 10th state in the U.S. to ban the sale of shark fins after signing a house bill into law. Texas had recently emerged as a hub for shark fins, with the state’s fin trade growing by 240 percent since 2010. This move also makes Texas the first state in the Gulf region to pass a shark fin sale ban, and follows several fin trade bans in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington. Shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, but most states still import and export fins. The shark fin trade is largely responsible for millions of shark deaths per year and is significantly driving their decline. Oceana has campaigned against the shark fin trade for years, and has previously won victories at the state and Federal levels to establish and uphold shark fin bans in other states. 

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December, 2007

Vermont Country Store Stops Selling Shark Squalane

Thousands of Oceana Wavemakers contacted the Vermont Country Story, a leading catalog retailer, convincing it to stop selling a skin enhancer containing shark squalane. In an ironic note, the product was marketed under the name “Oceana.”

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January, 2009

Saving Hammerhead, Thresher, Blue and Shortfin Mako Sharks

The Spanish government, after campaigning and consulting with Oceana, committed to advancing new shark legislation that would ban the catch of threatened hammerhead and thresher sharks, put in place catch limits for blue sharks and shortfin mako sharks and evaluate the viability of landing sharks “whole” with their fins attached. Spain is one of the largest shark catching and exporting countries in the world.

 

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