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Shark Conservation Starts with Shark Science

August 30, 2023

NOAA Fisheries invests millions of dollars into shark research to base management decisions on the best available science.

Bull Shark in the hands of Tobey Curtis.  Tobey is wearing an orange glove on left hand, held under the sharks head.r

NOAA Fisheries invests millions of dollars in shark (and skate and ray) research so that management decisions can be based on the best available science. In fact, we are one of the largest providers of funding for shark science in the world. This includes programs conducted by NOAA Fisheries scientists as well as grants for states, academic institutions, and other organizations. 

Regional Research, Shared Globally 

Sharks are found throughout all U.S. waters, so we study them in every region. Each NOAA Fisheries Science Center conducts shark research to meet the needs of regional fishery managers. 

For example, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts surveys, sampling, and tagging programs for sharks, spiny dogfish, and skates along the east coast.The Southeast Fisheries Science Center does surveys, research, and stock assessments. These form the foundation for shark management in U.S. waters and international fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Our shark research is peer-reviewed to ensure the science is high-caliber and suitable for management purposes. Since 2018, NOAA Fisheries scientists have contributed to more than 100 shark research publications on dozens of species. The research is submitted to journals or published in reports that are available to everyone through the NOAA Central Library

Driving Research with Funding 

Since 2018, NOAA and NOAA Fisheries have awarded more than $7 million to outside organizations for shark-focused research projects.  We do this through grant programs such as the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program, Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, Sea Grant, and Cooperative Research Program. The region-specific Species Recovery Grant Program supports research for sharks and rays listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. These investments in shark science allow us to continually improve our shark management. 

We fund and conduct research, assess stocks, work with U.S. fishermen, and implement appropriate management measures on shark harvests. Through these efforts, we have made significant progress toward ending overfishing and rebuilding overfished shark stocks for long-term sustainability.


Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on September 01, 2023