DNA Fingerprinting for Conservation and Management
IOCS Scientist Discusses CITES, the Shark Fin Trade and the Urgent Need to Protect Sharks
Podcast and transcript, video, fact sheet and publication links
March 15, 2010
A top priority at this year’s Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) are 7 species of shark that are prized for their fins to make the Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup.
IOCS researchers have been working to uncover the magnitude of the shark fin trade, its impacts on sharks and the measures needed to protect them.
IOCS Executive Director, Dr. Ellen Pikitch, and IOCS Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Phaedra Doukakis are currently attending the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar, working to advance protection for sharks, sturgeons and other endangered marine life.
- Listen to a recent segment of Living On Earth, a weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International. This interview features Dr. Demian Chapman, IOCS' Assistant Director for Science, discussing the implications of the shark fin trade and what he hopes will be resolved at the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar.
- Watch a video featuring Dr. Chapman to learn about efforts to use genetic testing to study the problem and implications of shark finning.
- Follow the link below to a fact sheet on Genetic Identification of Shark Body Parts in Trade written by IOCS scientists, Dr. Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie.
- Read about recent research supporting CITES listing for hammerhead sharks: "Scientists Trace Shark Fins Back to their Geographic Origin for the First Time using DNA Detective Work."
NOTE: The widely quoted number of "up to 73 million sharks" killed annually for the shark fin trade comes from a study initiated and co-authored by IOCS Executive Director, Dr. Ellen Pikitch. This paper remains the first and most authoritative estimate of the magnitude of the global shark trade.
Follow the link below to the study.
Clark et al 2006 paper in Ecology Letters
Living on Earth interview with Dr. Demian Chapman
Video on shark finning and genetic testing
Link to fact sheet on identifying shark body parts in trade
Read about global estimates of shark catches