Sharks | WWF Hong Kong


 
	© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF

Sharks

Background

Sharks vary greatly in size and habit. Whale sharks are the largest of all fish and can grow up to 12 m long and weigh up to 12,000 kg. The smallest sharks are the tiny pygmy sharks, which are fully grown at 20cm in length.

Sharks are efficient predators, with a highly developed sense of smell, hearing and sight. They can scent their prey in the water from great distances, and their sensitive eyes can see clearly even in the dim light of the deep ocean.

Sharks are carnivorous and eat invertebrates and fish, including other sharks. Large species may eat seals, turtles and penguins. Sharks are the top predators in many marine ecosystems, although some sharks, like the whale shark and the basking shark feed on plankton.

To date, scientists have identified more than 1,000 shark and related species. More than 400 species are shark.  Only a few of these species have records that they attacked on humans. Yet sharks continue to hold a negative reputation as a danger to people.
 
	© WWF-Hong Kong
Shark
© WWF-Hong Kong

Threats & Action

Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year by humans. Many are killed deliberately for their fins, which are made into shark's fin soup. Shark meat is popular in many parts of the world, and many sharks also die in fishing nets set for other fish. Sharks tend to be long-lived and relatively slow to reproduce, making them particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Effective catch limits are few and far between, and the unsustainable fishing of sharks poses a threat to the survival of many shark species, some of which are now endangered.

WWF is among several conservation organizations leading the fight to save the world's sharks. It takes a multi-pronged approach, from advocating for effective shark management to be adopted in regional fishery agreements for the high-seas, to fishing gears that reduce the bycatch of sharks in specific fisheries, to education and consumer campaigns.

Hong Kong is one of the largest consumers of shark fin worldwide, and plays a key role in driving overfishing for sharks across the world’s oceans. The current and future levels of demand for shark fins are likely to be far higher than can be met from sustainably managed fisheries.  WWF-Hong Kong is calling on individual consumers, corporations and restaurants to not consume or sell shark fins. 

If you want to know more about our campaign in Hong Kong, please visit here for more details. 
 
	© Joost van Uffelen / WWF
Shark
© Joost van Uffelen / WWF