Who is killing sharks in the Atlantic?

blue shark

Millions upon millions of sharks are being killed in the Atlantic by European fishing vessels, with just one country – Spain – accounting for a massive 57% of reported landings. Other countries involved in the overfishing of  Atlantic and Mediterranean sharks include Portugal, France and the United Kingdom. Despite the shocking number of sharks being killed it is believed that the actual number is likely to be three or four times greater than official figures suggest, due to many sharks being discarded in the ocean as unwanted catch (or bycatch). It is estimated that between 2002 and 2012 EU nations accounted for over 40% of global shark catch.

The majority of sharks are caught by pelagic long liners while fishing for the target species of tuna and swordfish. With shark meat being eaten in some Mediterranean countries, as well as the continued demand for shark fins, shark cartilage capsules, liver oil, and other uses, fishing companies are now seeing it as commercially viable to land sharks. This means there is now less incentive to stop catching sharks, as they are moving from being “bycatch” to “target catch”.

The Shark Trust has set up a website called No Limits? No Future which is aiming to both inform the public and gain widespread support for science-based limits on the number of sharks that can be caught. A petition has been launched which urges national governments, the European Commission and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to stop uncontrolled shark fishing. Sign it here.



  1. Jamie Anderson says:

    I understand that sharks will be caught, but the shear volume in which these great predators are ( will be wiped out ) if someone with some balls doesn’t do something about it! I have to say I’m not hopeful and think it’s possible that the oceans most beautiful creature will be no more within my life time 🙁

  2. The Spanish are known for killing and abusing animals, look what they do to bulls in the bullring. They’re probably using the sharks fins for STUPID SOUP.
    Don’t these people understand the workings of the eco-system that sharks are a part of. They are the predators, if we destroy them to extinction, then something else will come along, that would, in all probability be potentially worse.

  3. Janelle Tuero says:

    Very upsetting to hear that Spain is been so irresponsible over this cruel slaughter! In saying that pain doesn’t give a flying hoot about another barbaric killing, and thats bullfighting. Both of these offences need international intervention to hammer it home to Spain they are not above the law.

  4. Lisa Kjeldal says:

    Why can’t we let all our animals live without having to worry about extinction. And once endangered it is often too late.

  5. If they keep killing sharks this much soon there will be none left and the oceans will die, it will totaly disrute the food chain, everything in the ocean has a purpose and a right to live same as we do,

  6. Once again Spain does not care about animals!! Bullfighting, killing Greyhounds and the slaughter of sharks! It’s time the EU woke up and pass a law to stop this cruelty! Once the sharks are gone no law can bring them back!! One day we will wake up and say ” where have all the animals gone” unless something is done to stop this!!!

  7. Please read about the ‘Western Hypocrisy in the Shark’s Fin Debate’ here :


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