, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 385–398 | Cite as

Shark recreational fisheries: Status, challenges, and research needs

  • Austin J. Gallagher
  • Neil Hammerschlag
  • Andy J. Danylchuk
  • Steven J. Cooke


For centuries, the primary manner in which humans have interacted with sharks has been fishing. A combination of their slow-growing nature and high use-values have resulted in population declines for many species around the world, and to date the vast majority of fisheries-related work on sharks has focused on the commercial sector. Shark recreational fishing remains an overlooked area of research despite the fact that these practices are popular globally and could present challenges to their populations. Here we provide a topical overview of shark recreational fisheries, highlighting their history and current status. While recreational fishing can provide conservation benefits under certain circumstances, we focus our discourse on the relatively understudied, potentially detrimental impacts these activities may have on shark physiology, behavior, and fitness. We took this angle given the realized but potentially underestimated significance of recreational fishing for shark conservation management plans and stock assessments, in hopes of creating a dialogue around sustainability. We also present a series of broad and focused research questions and underpin areas of future research need to assist with the development of this emergent area of research.


Fishing Marine Recreational Resource Sharks 



We thank our many colleagues for their thoughtful insights that greatly benefitted this article, specifically R. Heuter. Cooke and Danylchuk are avid anglers and have received funding from angling-based organizations and industry partners.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Beneath the Waves, Inc.MiamiUSA
  4. 4.Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and PolicyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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