Mediterranean Cartilaginous Fish

Almost 7% of the world's cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays and chimaeras) live in the Mediterranean Sea.

Results

Of the 71 species living and breeding in the Mediterranean Sea, 42% are considered threatened within the region. Of these, 18% are Critically Endangered, 11% are Endangered, and 13% are Vulnerable. A further 26% have been assessed as Data Deficient, implying that there is insufficient data to assess their risk of extinction.

IUCN Med, Medoffice, Mediterranean, red list, species, cartilaginous fish, sharks, rays, chimaera, marine

Summary of conservation status for Chondrichthyans of the Mediterranean, 2008

Photo: IUCN

Main Threats and Conservation Action

By-catch is considered the biggest threat, but the decline is also due to the life history characteristics of the chondrichthyans, in combination with the enclosed nature of the Mediterranean Sea, the intense fishing activity throughout its coastal and pelagic waters, the effects of habitat loss, environmental degradation, and pollution. One particular threat is shark finning, referring to the removal and retention of shark fins and throwing the rest of the shark back to the sea.

Legal protection is urgently needed as only few of the threatened species are listed under relevant conventions or legal agreements, and over 73% currently receive no form of protection in the Mediterranean. Further research and monitoring programmes should be directed towards Data Deficient and threatened species.

These results can be consulted in the report: "Overview of the Conservation Status of Cartilaginous Fishes (Chondrichthyans) in the Mediterranean Sea" (eds. R. Cavanagh and C. Gibson), elaborated in collaboration with the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, and with the financial support of the Mava Foundation.

IUCNMed, Medoffice, UICN, Mediterranean, Shark, Red List, Species, Marine

Blue Shark - Vulnerable

Photo: Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch

Mediterranean landscape
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  • Overview of the Conservation Status of Cartilaginous Fishes (Chondrichthyans) in the Mediterranean Sea

    Overview of the Conservation Status of Cartilaginous Fishes (Chondrichthyans) in the Mediterranean Sea

    Photo: IUCN-Med