Sharks | WWF
© Simon Lorenz

Sharks

Why do they matter?

Sharks are cartilaginous fish and are also called chondrichthyan. They are the apex predators of marine ecosystems and serve as an important indicator of ocean health. Sharks perform important ecological roles in the marine environments; one of their main responsibilities in the ecosystem is to maintain the species below them in the food chain. They remove the sick species and keep balance with the competitors, which helps ensure diversity. Indirectly, sharks also maintain seagrass and coral reef habitats.

Key Facts
Common name
Common Name

Sharks

Geographic place

Habitat

Sharks inhabit in three major marine habitats such as continental shelves, deep sea and open ocean.

Population

Population

an estimated 184 chondrichthyan species are reported from the Arabian Sea and adjacent water

Latin name

Scientific Name

Elasmobranchs

Endangered

Status

Threatened to extinction

What are the main threats to sharks?

Despite the diversity, there is growing evidence that population of many shark species are increasingly threatened with extinction. Shark population has mainly been declining due to overfishing and habitat degradation. Many shark species are also caught as bycatch in fishing operations, which poses serious threat to their survival. They are often caught in industrials and small-scale fisheries by different types of fishing gears and techniques such as trawl nets, gillnets, purse seine and longlines. There has also been a rapid growth in the demand for shark products, particularly fins, in the global market. The poorly monitored and largely unregulated global trade and demand is outpacing the productivity of these slow growing species, leading to the worldwide overexploitation of many sharks species.
 
    © Simon Lorenz
Shark
© Simon Lorenz

What WWF-Pakistan is doing?

WWF-Pakistan is closely working with the shark stakeholders for establishing conservation and management measures for sharks at both national and regional level. Our primary focus is on co-management approach and promoting sustainable fishing practices. To execute it, data is being collected on shark species, trials of gear modification of the fishing operations to reduce bycatch of species are being conducted, and modern technology is being used for the improved fisheries compliance