Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 68 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Gary Kleppel

Committee Members

Katy Gonder, Jeff Zappieri, Joshua Drew


conservation, ecosystem, finning, marine, shark, Sharks, Shark fishing, Shark fisheries, Fishery policy


Globally, shark species are in decline, largely due to shark finning. This practice has an adverse effect on shark populations and could result in fishery and ecosystem collapses. Past conservation efforts, including the dolphin-safe tuna campaign, large mammal poaching, sea turtle conservation and the anti-whaling campaign, have used various approaches to mitigate impacts on wildlife, including political, consumer and public awareness, and science or evidence-based approaches. By examining and drawing from these processes we can determine the most effective strategy to reduce the effects of finning on shark populations around the world. A feasible conservation strategy for shark conservation in the face of shark finning would involve identifying stakeholders and creating an international forum to facilitate cooperation between nations and enforce a multi-pronged approach to mitigate the negative effects of shark finning. The first part of the approach would focus on increasing and expanding research on all shark species, their stocks and ecology as well as using that information to create appropriate management plans that are based on shark life histories instead of boney fish management. That second part would include political reforms and templates for global regulations, as well as the creation of internationally protected areas. The last part would use education and tourism to promote a boycott of shark fin products, a reduction in finning efforts, and an increase in community-led shark ecotourism efforts. Using this three-pronged approach and international cooperation, we can save sharks from the dangers of overharvest.