This year, an estimated 73 million sharks were killed worldwide.
The human hunt for shark fins and meat continued mostly unabated in 2010, leaving as many as a third of all species potentially headed for extinction.
While much work remains, this year delivered a few highlights for shark conservation. Here's a look back and a glimpse of what's ahead:
*In the last days of its session this week, the U.S. Congress tightened loopholes in the nation's shark finning ban when it passed the Shark Conservation Act. My colleagues at Pew and my fellow shark attack survivors had been pressing for this action for more than 18 months, since we initially visited the U.S. Capitol in July 2009 to make our case.
As a shark conservation leader, the U.S. is now well positioned to push for similar measures in other countries.
Shark finning is a process where fishermen slice off the fins and dump the animal, sometimes still alive, back in the water where it drowns or bleeds to death. It's wasteful and unsustainable. The lucrative fins are then traded internationally as a soup ingredient in Asian markets.