Opportunities and challenges in value chain analysis for sustainable management of sharks and rays

Guido Leurs*, Matthew Bjerregaard Walsh, Alifa Bintha Haque, Claire Collins, Kerstin Glaus, Shoba Joe Kizhakudan, Muktha Menon, Efin Muttaqin, Benaya Simeon, Javier Tovar-Ávila, Laura L. Govers, Paddy A. Walker, Kim J. Friedman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Studies on elasmobranch trade have often focused on a single commodity, shark fins. Such a narrow focus can result in an incomplete understanding of the socio-cultural importance of sharks, limiting discussion on the range and efficacy of potential management interventions. Assessments must be performed across the value chain from fisher to retail vendor to better conserve vulnerable elasmobranch species, offering a broader view of capture, use, and trade. Here, we collate insights from shark value chain assessments conducted in eight countries (Mexico, Peru, Guinea-Bissau, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Fiji) spanning five continents. Approaches and processes implemented in a shark value chain analysis (VCA) were reviewed to: (1) understand better approaches and tools and (2) collate shared experiences. Our results demonstrate that VCAs broaden the outlook of fishery and trade assessments when capturing a more comprehensive range of economic and socio-cultural aspects (e.g., livelihoods, cultural use of commodities) of trade in all shark commodities. Time invested in various components of assessments produced different outcomes, with considerable returns from stakeholder selection, survey design, and assessor/stakeholder relationship building. Contrastingly, results demonstrated that efforts in communication with stakeholder groups and policymakers could be further streamlined to focus on key results using a variety of communication formats. Outcomes from this study offer guidance to those embarking on shark VCAs, facilitating improving the assessment process and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106121
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - May-2024


  • Elasmobranchs
  • Fisheries
  • Food security
  • Resource management
  • Shark
  • Socio-ecology
  • Trade
  • Value chain analysis

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