Calls-to-action for the ban of shark fishing may help in controlling fish populations, but they rarely solve the problem, as most sharks are caught incidentally. In the US, a bill was called to pass the Shark Fin Sale Elimination Act in 2017, making it illegal to possess, buy, or sell shark fins, or any products containing shark fin. However, such bans may actually cause more harm. When US domestic fisheries can no longer export sustainably caught sharks to Asia, the market turns to less or unsustainable fisheries to fill the void instead.
This explains why there has been a growing awareness that sustainable shark fishing is the way forward. In another study of assessed populations done in 2017, it was found that 39 out of 65 populations (only 2.6 percent of global shark diversity) met the criteria for biological sustainability, but eight of these do not have science-based management plans. That said, almost all of these populations are within developed countries, namely USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the European Union. Understanding of Asian fisheries is still largely unknown.
Enabling and supporting evidence-based scientific research can help the situation. In America, the government agency, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) Fisheries, does extensive stock assessment surveys on a variety of sharks, with all data readily available online. This data helps allow fishery policies in the USA to be driven by science.
That said, while sustainable fishery management sounds ideal, itis hard to execute in Southeast Asia, where most fisheries simply lack resources to do so.