Sharks play a critical role in the ocean environment yet many species are under threat. Over the last ten years, the international community has taken significant steps to protect shark species and address the threats to them through the adoption and implementation of international laws, plans and programmes. Nevertheless, despite the attention given to this issue, many shark species continue to deteriorate in numbers. While the reasons for this decline are complex and varied, regulatory fragmentation is one contributing factor. Legal regulation is a critical element in achieving effective conservation and management of sharks. This article considers the international laws, plans and programmes that seek to conserve shark species, explores the current fragmented regime and outlines possible strategies to overcome this challenge and enhance shark protection in the future.