Haie im Aquarium
Haie im Aquarium

Our attitude to sharks in aquaria

Aquarium guideline

Sharkproject is critical of the shark aquariums defined below. We are of the opinion that keeping large animals such as sharks in a species-appropriate manner is not possible or only possible to a very limited extent.

According to its statutes (articles of association), Sharkproject is a species protection organization that aims to protect sharks, and not an animal welfare organization. Nevertheless, we cannot and do not want to ignore the aspect of species-appropriate husbandry and the avoidance of unnecessary torture (animal welfare), even for individual animals.

As a responsible organization, we have to differentiate between shark aquariums:


Differentiation according to the origin and species of the animals

First of all, we differentiate according to the origin of the animals. We evaluate captive-bred offspring differently from wild-caught sharks.

  • Smaller, egg-laying shark species (oviparous) are acceptable as long as they come from captive breeding.
  • The large shark species that give birth to their offspring alive (viviparity) are (with the exception of, for example, blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, shovelnose hammerhead sharks and sandbar sharks) not sustainably breedable as far as we know, so that we have to assume wild catches here according to the precautionary principle and do not support this stocking.
  • If it is a replacement husbandry, which at the same time means a significant improvement of the living conditions compared to the aquarium of origin, the adoption of sharks from other aquariums is also in the best interest of the animals. Under no circumstances may the surrendering aquarium be restocked with wild-caught sharks.
  • All transports of animals must be carried out professionally under the supervision of the responsible official veterinarian.


Differentiation by aquarium

The circumstances of shark aquarium diversity worldwide lead to further distinctions: The type and purpose of the shark aquarium is another criterion for Sharkproject in our concrete attitude towards individual facilities. We differentiate between purely commercial institutions, which only pursue economic interests, and established houses, which are not primarily profit-oriented, with governmental teaching or educational mandates. These are educational institutions with recognized research work in professional circles, teaching assignments or university connections.

Indications for purely commercially interested institutions are in particular a sensationalized self-promotion ("biggest", "best", "greatest", "most spectacular", etc.) or audience-attracting show and action offers (swimming or diving in front of an audience or by the audience in the pool, shark petting pool, or the like). For terrestrial animals, this distinction would correspond to that of recognized zoos versus theme parks or amusement parks. The aquarium operation complies at least with the requirements of the animal protection laws and is state of the art. The animal care is professional and scientifically managed.



We respond to shark aquariums depending on all these criteria.

We only work together with scientifically managed shark aquariums that do not act with purely economic interests in mind, and thus correspond to our attitude towards shark aquariums. In particular, these must fulfil a permanent educational mission on sharks that conveys a broad species-protective message to the public (educational trail, cinema, guided tours, etc.).

Attention: Pure irony

"Sharks are cute!"

Dolphins are cute, sharks are monsters. In 2015, Young & Rubicam (Y&R) Germany supported us with a terrific spot. With this ironic video, which unfortunately was not yet profitable for all viewers at that time, the idea creators Bruno Petz and Marc Henschel created a spot that got to the point: How lovable must an animal be to be protected from extinction?

Young & Rubicam has been supporting Sharkproject pro bono for a long time, and here we would like to say THANK YOU once again.

Director: Jan Bonny
3-D effects: Dpost, Prague
Production: E+P Films, Munich
Music: Echoism Music, Vienna