An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year, "largely due to their inherent vulnerability, and an increasing demand, particularly for their ?ns, in the Asian market," a new report finds.
Sharks are particularly vulnerable, National Geographic says, "because they take long periods to mature and generally produce few young over their lifetimes."
"There's a staggering number of sharks being caught every year and the number is way too high considering the biology of species," the study's lead researcher tells National Geographic.
Shark killings must decline "drastically in order to rebuild depleted populations and restore marine ecosystems with functional top predators," the study says.
Published in the journal Marine Policy, the report precedes Sunday's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Officials will consider protections for the most threatened shark species, the BBC reports.
Though the body rejected similar proposals in 2010, the BBC says, advocates believe they have wider support this time and expect to get the measures passed.
Meanwhile, new protections for great white sharks took effect Friday in California, Reuters reports. The sharks are now candidates for making the state's endangered species list.
Great whites are already shielded from commercial and sport fishing, Reuters says, but new provisions target the unintentional snaring that can happen during gill-net fishing.