the issue

Blue Shark © Charles Hood

Overfishing is currently the biggest threat facing sharks worldwide. Landings have soared over past decades placing huge pressure on shark populations. this has serious implications for the wider marine ecosystem, as well as the communities that rely on sharks for their livelihood.

The No Limits? sharks in particular are in serious trouble and need our urgent attention. Blue Sharks and Shortfin Makos are caught in vast numbers on the high-seas. While Tope, smoothhounds and catsharks are caught in coastal fisheries.

If we want to keep these sharks in our waters we need to ensure they’re fished sustainably. So, we’re campaigning for science-based catch limits to be set. Before it’s too late.

Together let’s Stop Uncontrolled Shark Fishing!



EU bans shark finning

The EU adopted a regulation banning shark finning (the removal of shark fins while at sea and the discarding of the carcass).  However the regulation contained a loophole which provided an opportunity for shark finning to continue undetected and unpunished.


EU shark management plan

The EU finally adopted the Community Plan of Action-Sharks (CPOA-shark) – which contained an action to review and implement the European shark finning regulation.


Fins naturally attached

The requirement to land sharks with their fins naturally attached finally came into force, establishing best-practice for the EU fleet worldwide, and representing the culmination of well over ten years work for the Shark Trust and our colleagues.


Launch of No Limits? campaign

With the support of UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice and campaign Ambassador Steve Backshall, the Shark Trust launched No Limits?.


Proposals for No Limits? species

The EU presented proposals at ICCAT for high-seas management of Atlantic Blue Sharks and Shortfin Makos. These proposals did not gain the necessary traction and fisheries remain unlimited.


Shark League formed

The Shark League for the Atlantic and Mediterranean was formed by the Shark Trust, Shark Advocates International, Project Aware and Ecology Action Centre. This coalition focuses its efforts on advocating for catch limits, better protections for endangered species and enforceable shark finning bans in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.


Modest Atlantic Limit on Blues

An EU proposal lead to the adoption of a modest measure for Blue Sharks at ICCAT – this was a small yet unprecedented step toward establishing limits on Blue Shark catches from the North Atlantic.


Petitions delivered to EU Commission

In March, the Shark Trust delivered over 130,000 signatures supporting the call to end uncontrolled shark fishing to the EU Commission in Brussels.


"Binding Recommendation" for Mako

Scientific advice recommended that to stop overfishing and give the best chance of recovery, a complete ban on retaining Shortfin Mako should be implemented. Management fell short, but there is now a Binding Recommendation requiring live release.


No Limits? Mako’ver

With scientists focusing their attention on Shortfin Makos at ICCAT as it was a stock assessment year, campaign focus also shifted from Blue Sharks to Shortfin Mako.


Move4Makos Campaign

UK shark lovers come out to show support for makos. #Move4Makos got people running, cycling, climbing, swimming, boating, skating…you name it. All to show support for science-based catch limits. 


A Catch Limit for Blue Sharks at Last

ICCAT adopt groundbreaking new catch limits for Blue Shark in the North and South Atlantic.

ICCAT Stalemate on Mako

Support at ICCAT annual meeting for Mako. A science-led retention ban proposed by 10 countries. But opposition from EU and US prevented any action to halt unsustainable fishing.


EU and US do it again...

For the second year, EU and US blocked progress towards a science-based ban on Mako fisheries in the North Atlantic. A special ICCAT “inter-sessional” meeting on Mako agreed for July 2021


Reprieve for Mako

EU Member State scientists reviewing mako obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) issued an “opinion” that points to EU Member States banning North Atlantic Shortfin Mako imports, including those introduced from the high seas by EU fishing vessels. 

The Sharks

Blue Sharks and Shortfin Makos are highly migratory. Mainly caught on the high-seas, they need international management.

Coastal species – such as Tope, catsharks (Smallspotted Catshark and Nursehound) and smoothhounds (Starry Smoothhound and Common Smoothhound) – are also caught in increasing numbers. Often overlooked, these species need regional management. While Tope have limited management in the UK, this needs to be extended across their range.

The Underdogs

Smoothhound © Peter Verhoog

High-Seas Sharks

Blue Shark & Shortfin Mako © Andy Murch

Download Shark ID Guides

Photo Wall

Thank you to everyone who’s gone the extra mile and moved for makos!

Get Involved

Together Let’s Stop Uncontrolled Shark Fishing!

Help us secure science-based catch limits for unmanaged shark species by: 


  • TWEET/EMAIL YOUR MINISTER – Help us turn the tide for Shortfin Mako by getting your country to support a ban on retaining mako in the Atlantic. We have until July to convince ICCAT Parties (particularly the EU and US) to join our cause – click here to take action.
  • GETTING THE KIDS INVOLVED – It’s vital the next generation have their say. Colour and make your own shark chatterbox below, and write your own Shortfin Mako facts inside. We’d love to see your creations, so remember to send us photos!
  • SPREADING THE WORD – Social media is a powerful tool for conservation. Help us spread the word far and wide in just one click. Follow our progress on Facebook and Twitter #NoLimitsNoFuture #MakeTime4Makos and #Move4Makos

Steve Backshall signs the No Limits? petition.


What our supporters say…

Over the last year alone, I’ve had the great privilege of many hours underwater with sharks of various shapes and sizes. Many have been smaller species, such as the catsharks, Tope and smoothhound you commonly see on British dives… Every encounter has been a true wonder, and I have learned to not only respect, but deeply love these majestic, exciting creatures. 

Steve Backshall

The work that the Shark Trust does in raising awareness of the plight of these iconic species is really, really important. These are incredibly charismatic species yet they face a number of important threats: habitat loss, secondly climate change, thirdly – and perhaps most importantly – the damage caused by unregulated fishing practices.

George Eustice


EU Action Sets Up Mako Sharks for New Year Reprieve

Conservationists are closing the year with hope for endangered North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks as EU level decisions point to unprecedented 2021 limits for some of the world’s top mako fishing countries, particularly Spain and Portugal.

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Canada Steps Up with Bid to Save Endangered Atlantic Mako Sharks

Endangered Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks are set to take center stage in the 2020 deliberations of the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), with Canada today proposing science-based catch limits that include a complete retention ban to protect the seriously overfished North Atlantic population.

read more

EU and US Prevent Vital Protections for Endangered Mako Sharks

Conservationists are shocked and distressed that the European Union and the United States – despite long promoting science-based shark conservation – were the main obstacles to the adoption of urgently needed protections for mako sharks at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

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Write to us

The Shark Trust4 Creykes Court, The Millfields, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3JB, United Kingdom

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Write to us:

Shark Trust
4 Creykes Court
The Millfields
United Kingdom