It has long been said that we know more about the moon than we do about the oceans. After all, 12 people have walked on the surface of the moon but only three have been to the deepest part of the sea. But it now seems that we know even less about the oceans than we thought — and we may well have been doing even more damage than we realized.

A recent study found that fishing catches have been substantially underestimated for years. This should grab the attention of both regional fisheries management organizations, which oversee commercial fishing in the high seas, and those monitoring compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), which covers endangered migratory species.

According to the CMS, the species demanding the strictest protection today — listed in Appendix I — include great white sharks, five species of sawfish, and 11 species of ray. The CMS meetings on migratory sharks, set to take place this month in Costa Rican capital of San Jose, represent an important opportunity for advancing regulations to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of these species, so that they can continue to fulfill their critical ecological role as apex predators.