The Global Sharks and Rays Initiative (GSRI) was founded in 2015 to formulate and implement a collaborative global shark conservation strategy as the basis for coordinating and catalysing the efforts and investments of many actors, including the founding members, at global, regional and national levels. The process involved a team of experts representing the following GSRI organizations: Shark Advocates International, the Shark Trust, TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation
Society (WCS), and WWF International. The co-chairs of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group served as technical advisors and contributors to the planning process.
The NGOs that have partnered to develop the Global Priorities for Conserving Sharks and Rays. A 2015 2025 Strategy are committed to its implementation, through the GSRI. However, it is clear that such an ambitious effort involves a much broader range of private and public sector organizations, agencies, and institutions. This Global Strategy provides a road map for expanding commitments and prompting action to ensure the conservation of these vulnerable and valuable fishes.
The overall Goal of the Global Priorities for Conserving Sharks and Rays. A 2015 2025 Strategy is that By 2025, the conservation status of the worlds sharks and rays has improved declines have been halted, extinctions have been prevented, and commitments to their conservation have increased globally.
Global priorities are articulated as a comprehensive set of interventions targeting priority countries for each of the four synergistic sub-strategies:
Saving Shark and Ray Species
Managing Shark and Ray Fisheries for Sustainability
Ensuring Responsible Trade in Shark and Ray Products
Encouraging Responsible Consumption of Shark and Ray Products
Updates to voluntary commitment
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
- Large Marine Ecosystem approach
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
- Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
- Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
- Science-based fisheries management plans
- Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
- Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
- Market-based instruments (Individually Traded Quotas, Vessel Day Schemes, etc.)
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
- Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
2025 SAVING SPECIES GOAL: Declines of the most endangered shark and ray species have been halted, and the conservation status of Data Deficient species is understood
2025 SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES GOAL: Fisheries-driven overexploitation and waste of sharks and rays are substantially reduced through increased adoption and implementation of sound, science-based fisheries management measures in at least 40 priority countries and in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).
2025 RESPONSIBLE TRADE GOAL: Effective trade controls are in place to ensure international trade in sharks and rays, and the products derived from them, is legal, sustainable and traceable.
2025 RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION GOAL: The demand for (largely unsustainable) shark and ray meat, fins, squalene, manta and devil ray gill plates, and freshwater stingrays is significantly reduced in the most important global markets, while markets increasingly demand that any shark and ray products are sustainably produced and traceable.