Sharks & Rays
Sharks have ruled the seas for millennia, but today the tables have turned. Nearly a quarter of all species of sharks and their close cousins, the skates and rays, are now threatened with extinction. Fisheries bycatch and virtually ubiquitous and relentless direct fishing pressure, targeting fins, meat and other products, are driving serious population declines in ocean and freshwater ecosystems.
WCS and our partners, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, are developing a global 10-year initiative to conserve the earth’s sharks and rays. More specifically, WCS is leading efforts to develop a global conservation strategy that will: strengthen protection for imperiled species; improve fisheries management globally; bolster control and monitoring of trade in shark and ray products; and reduce market demand for shark fins, manta and devil ray gill plates, and other products from endangered or overfished shark and ray species.
From the Newsroom
Caleb McClennen, executive director for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Global Marine Program, explains the most important take away from Discovery Channel's Shark Week: sharks are an extraordinarily threatened species.
During "Shark Week" this year, says WCS Executive Vice President of Pubic Affairs John Calvelli, consider the serious threats to sharks and the vital New York seascape they rely on.
WCS researchers working on a New York Seascape study discover a female sand tiger shark, missing all its fins, swimming through Delaware Bay. The conservationists call the discovery a disturbing reminder about the ongoing threats to vulnerable shark populations around the world.