CITES Listed Shark Species

First included in the CITES Appendices in 2003, most species of sharks and rays are listed in CITES Appendix II, which aims to ensure trade in these species is both legal and sustainable. There are currently 30 species of sharks and rays whose trade is managed by this Convention.


Sawfishes (7 species)

Sawfishes are the only shark species that are listed in CITES Appendix I, which is essentially a ban on international trade. Despite widespread evidence of declines across their range, management was not put in place for these species for decades. By the time was put in place for sawfishes, there was no longer any level of trade that could be considered sustainable.

Sawfishes are evidence that for species as biologically vulnerable as sharks and rays, it is critical that effective management measures are put in place before populations are so severe that the only potential management are prohibitions.

Jim Abernethy

Jim Abernethy

Oceanic Whitetip sharks

Oceanic whitetip sharks are listed in CITES Appendix II. Although it is one of the most widespread shark species, found throughout the world's tropical and temperate seas, it is also one of the most threatened.

Assessments of oceanic whitetip populations have indicated that stocks have declined by 99% in the Gulf of Mexico, over 70% in the northwest Atlantic and 90% in the Pacific Ocean. They are assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered in the northwest and western central Atlantic Ocean and as vulnerable globally.

Great hammerhead | Jim Abernethy

Great hammerhead | Jim Abernethy

Scalloped, smooth and great Hammerhead Sharks

Three species of hammerhead sharks are listed in CITES Appendix II. Hammerhead sharks are one of the most distinctive creatures on the planet, is subject to targeted fisheries, illegal fishing, and fishery bycatch throughout the world. Unlike other species of sharks, hammerheads frequently aggregate in large numbers, which makes them more vulnerable to fishing efforts.

Targeted and caught as bycatch in the purse seine and longline fisheries, hammerhead populations fell upwards of 90% across the Atlantic and as high as 99% in the Mediterranean.