According to an investigation, 100 million sharks are killed annually worldwide. The figuresare released in a report published in the Marine Policy journal.
The report claims that those who hunt sharks do so mainly for their fins, which are often said to have health benefits though there is no evidence to supports these claims. Shark fins are traditionally used in Chinese cuisine to make soup.
Some of those who capture sharks remove their fins and throw the rest of the body overboard. In 2010, scientists estimated that their mortality varied between 63 million and 273 million.
Demian Chapman from Stony Brook University in New York said that 100 million was a definitive estimate and the most accurate available.
The number of sharks caught has not changed substantially between 2000 and 2010. However, researchers add that commercial fishing fleets have changed location so the results are not precise.
Researchers are concerned about fish species that take a long period to reach maturity and if continually caught and killed recklessly could lead to their extinction.