Manta ray

Sharks & Rays: Vulnerable Species Protection

Reduce the number of sharks and rays threatened with extinction by 25% by 2030.



The Threat & Our Role

Over a third of all known shark and ray species are facing an increased risk of extinction, making them the second most vulnerable group of animals on the planet. Overfishing is the common threat to all of the most vulnerable species, with loss of critical habitats, climate change and pollution also affecting populations. Sharks and rays play diverse roles in the ocean, from apex predators, scavengers and filter feeders. Immediate action to prevent extinctions is needed to protect sharks and rays that play a vital role in many countries' economies, as well as helping secure food security, functioning ecosystems and cultural heritage.

PADI AWARE, with the support of the dive community, are in a unique position to drive forward essential conservation measures to help prevent shark and ray extinctions. Through our Blueprint for Ocean Action we can minimize population declines through restrictions on unregulated fishing, effective marine protected areas and monitoring the health of local shark and ray populations.



Take Action

Current PADI AWARE Foundation campaigns and opportunities for Ocean Torchbearers.

Whale Shark
Coming Soon
Global Shark Census

Sharks are a major reason divers dive. The ability to observe sharks in their natural environment provides an exclusive position to monitor their populations. In 2023, PADI AWARE will launch the Global Shark Census, getting divers to record shark sightings to help develop suitable conservation measures.

Shark tourism
AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty

The PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Course provides tailored content for divers to understand more about the conservation threats to sharks as well as learning about practical ways to participate in shark conservation.

Bull shark
End Unsustainable Shark Trade

In November 2022, 184 countries met at the triennial meeting of CITES, the global treaty on trade in endangered species. Thanks to the support of the PADI Dive Community, PADI AWARE were able to help establish protection measures for over 50 new species, including favorites like reef, bull and silvertip sharks.



shark history
30 Years in Conservation

PADI AWARE has been working on shark and ray conservation since our launch as Project AWARE. In that time we have developed the world’s premier shark conservation dive course and helped secure trade and fishery protections for over 50 different species.



Our Strategy

Reduce the number of species of sharks and ray threatened with extinction by 25% by 2030.

Key Actions  (1) Collaborate with locally based PADI operators and Ocean Tocrchbearers to protect native shark and ray populations (2) Launch the Global Shark Census to collect information on the populations of sharks and rays encountered by divers.

Local Action
In-Country Campaigns

PADI AWARE will lead and support local shark and ray conservation efforts around the world through our Adopt The Blue initiative, citizen science research and our Community Grant Program.

Global Impact
International Advocacy

PADI AWARE is an active participant at the international decision-making level to ensure the interests and concerns of the recreational diving community are represented. Our focus is to secure commitments on ending overfishing and unsustainable levels of trade in sharks and rays as well as protecting their critical habitats.



Tools & Resources

Mako 3
Community Story
Brazil & South Africa Mako Campaign

“Mako sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing, especially in the North Atlantic, where we have seen populations decline severely. It is currently estimated that the shark population will take 50 years to fully recover if fishing bans were implemented today." says Ian Campbell, Associate Director, Policy and Campaigns of PADI AWARE Foundation. "By working directly with PADI Members in Brazil and South Africa to raise awareness of the issue with the diving community, we aim to encourage governmental support of mako shark protections in the Atlantic.”