Fishing for oil and meat drives irreversible defaunation of deepwater sharks and rays

Brittany Finucci, Nathan Pacoureau, Cassandra L. Rigby, Jay H. Matsushiba, Nina Faure-Beaulieu, C. Samantha Sherman, Wade J. VanderWright, Rima W. Jabado, Patricia Charvet, Paola A. Mejía-Falla, Andrés F. Navia, Danielle H. Derrick, Peter M. Kyne, Riley A. Pollom, Rachel H.L. Walls, Katelyn B. Herman, Bineesh Kinattumkara, Charles F. Cotton, Juan Martín Cuevas, Ross K. DaleyDharmadi, David A. Ebert, Daniel Fernando, Stela M.C. Fernando, Malcolm P. Francis, Charlie Huveneers, Hajime Ishihara, David W. Kulka, Robin W. Leslie, Francis Neat, Alexei M. Orlov, Getulio Rincon, Glenn J. Sant, Igor V. Volvenko, Terence I. Walker, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Nicholas K. Dulvy

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The deep ocean is the last natural biodiversity refuge from the reach of human activities. Deepwater sharks and rays are among the most sensitive marine vertebrates to overexploitation. One-third of threatened deepwater sharks are targeted, and half the species targeted for the international liver-oil trade are threatened with extinction. Steep population declines cannot be easily reversed owing to long generation lengths, low recovery potentials, and the near absence of management. Depth and spatial limits to fishing activity could improve conservation when implemented alongside catch regulations, bycatch mitigation, and international trade regulation. Deepwater sharks and rays require immediate trade and fishing regulations to prevent irreversible defaunation and promote recovery of this threatened megafauna group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1141
Number of pages7
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Issue number6687
Early online date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2024


  • Deepwater sharks
  • Deepwater rays
  • Liver-oil trade
  • Population decline
  • Over fishing
  • Trade regulations
  • Fishing regulations


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