In 2021, the impact of the FinPrint report began to ripple through ocean communities. The data not only showed the alarming decline of sharks, but also pointed to successful measures that countries had taken to protect them. The enforcement of Marine Protected Areas and fishing gear restrictions went a long way towards sustaining shark populations in regulated waters. The data also contributed to several shark species securing elevated placement on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species – the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of biological species. These successes spurred more countries to take action in their own ecosystems.
"It is well established that people have had a profound negative effect on sharks, but what Global FinPrint emphasizes is that people can also have an equally strong positive impact,” said Demian Chapman, co-research lead for the program. “When people pull together and put in certain shark management measures, Global FinPrint shows that it works. What is really inspiring is that nations that we sampled where there were 'red flags' for sharks, such as Belize, are now stepping up to put these management measures into play.”
Scientists continue to use Global FinPrint data to better understand the importance of sharks on reefs, and to engage locally and globally to help protect and rebuild their populations.
Partners: Florida International University, Stonybrook University, Australia Institute of Marine Science, Curtin University, Dalhousie University