The Shark Trust is the leading shark conservation organisation committed to safeguarding the future of global shark populations through positive change. As a science-based organisation, the Trust thrives on collaboration, bringing people together and finding pragmatic solutions to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks. The Shark Trust believes that everyone has a vital role to play, and it is the combined efforts of scientists, industry, decision makers and the public that is making the difference in protecting shark, skate and ray populations.
In the 18 years since its establishment the Trust has been a vital partner in achieving key milestones in shark conservation, at national, European and global level. These include:
- Protection for Basking Shark, Angelshark, Common and White Skate under UK domestic wildlife regulations
- Working with CMS and CITES to secure wildlife protection and trade agreements for vulnerable species including: Basking Shark, Porbeagle, Oceanic Whitetip, Hammerheads, Manta and Sawfish
- Introduction of the EU finning regulation (2003), adoption of fins naturally attached (2013) and EU position as FNA champion in global high-seas for adoption of the EU Community Plan of Action for sharks (CPOA-Sharks) (2009)
- Introduction of species-specific landings for all skates and rays commercially fished in EU waters
- Introduction of catch limits (TACs) for key commercial species in EU waters, closure of target fisheries for the most vulnerable species
- Enabling effective public engagement in shark conservation through citizen science and campaign opportunities
There are numerous potential threats to shark populations, the most significant of which is unmanaged, unsustainable fishing. Building on the key fisheries management and wildlife protection successes over the past 10 years, the Trust is now gearing up to push harder and faster for effective management, enforced protection and responsible trade across the globe.
The conservation strategy for the next 10 years is therefore based around three pillars:
- Fisheries Management: Achieve sustainable management of non-threatened sharks and any associated fisheries
- Responsible Trade and Consumption: Influence supply chains and reduce consumer demand for non-sustainable shark products
- Wildlife Protection: Improve conservation of threatened shark species
These aims will be achieved through a mixed portfolio of campaigns and projects that combine policy work, stakeholder engagement, public engagement and targeted communication to drive change.
Projects & Campaigns
The Trust manages numerous projects across policy, stakeholder engagement and public engagement work-streams. Trust staff work with industry, with policy makers, with scientists and with the public on actions that contribute to the delivery of its conservation aims. As examples, their current portfolio includes two key public engagement projects:
The Great Eggcase Hunt
The Great Eggcase Hunt, one of the UK’s most popular and longstanding public marine recording projects – recently selected by the Guardian as their “Charity campaign of the month”. The project, which encourages the public to search and record spent shark and ray eggcases on the shore, has engaged over 10,000 volunteer recorders and collected over 75,000 records, providing valuable data to contribute to the science and conservation of UK sharks, skates and rays.
No Limits? No Future focuses on the urgent need for science-based catch limits for key commercial species in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, including Blue Shark, Shortfin Mako, Tope, Smoothhounds and Catsharks. This campaign builds on previous achievements in fisheries policy advocacy, aiming at ensuring sustainable management for the EU, a major global fishing power. The successful implementation of science-based catch limits and management will contribute to a sustainable future for coastal communities as well as for sharks and for overall ocean health.
Supporting the Shark Trust
As a membership organisation the Shark Trust represents a growing body of members with diverse interests as well as a wider support base through social media and website subscribers. In total their support base is in excess of 35,000, primarily from the UK but also with a growing interest from USA, South Africa and Europe. Membership of the Trust not only provides a connection with the latest in shark science and conservation but also provides the Trust with a louder voice to advance their important work. You can find out more about Shark Trust Membership at www.sharktrust.org/join and you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.