The IUCN Shark Specialist Group (SSG) has long been a trusted source of science-based information and advice on sharks and their relatives. This solid reputation has been built on widespread interest in the IUCN Red List as a means of identifying and prioritizing species at risk, monitoring threats, and evaluating conservation action. Our work continues to centre on finding expert consensus as to the global status of species, and is guided by the following principles:
- Sharks, rays and chimaeras have ecological, economic, and cultural value;
- Policies regarding these species should be founded on sound science;
- Fishing and other forms of exploitation should be managed for sustainability;
- Minimizing waste is important, particularly given declining food security;
- Communicating the outcomes of SSG initiatives to policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, and the public can lead to improvements in the population status of sharks, rays and chimaeras.
- Continual assessment and reassessment of their IUCN Red List status;
- Development of prioritized, science-based advice for conservation strategies and policies;
- Regular communication of findings to a broad range of audiences;
- Evaluation of the impact of policy developments; and,
- Identification and prioritization of key knowledge gaps and research needs.
- Red List assessments for the vast majority of the world's shark, ray, skate and chimaera species (~1,250 species) through the voluntary global effort of the SSG membership and collaborating scientists;
- Seven regional and four thematic reports incorporating these assessments for various regions or species groups;
- Key roles in advising and informing government officials in the development and implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization International Plan of Action for Sharks, and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding for Migratory Sharks (Shark MOU);
- Vital analyses of proposals for adding sharks and rays to the Appendices of CMS and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES);
- Development of specific policy advice for various governments, regional fisheries bodies and businesses, particularly with respect to shark finning and sustainable exploitation.