US Bans Shark-Finning

fins3.jpgDid you know that the U.S. government has allowed the practice of shark-finning for several years? You might have thought this was a practice relegated to Asian countries, where shark fins are used in a local soup. In the past, fishermen could horde piles of shark fins alongside the shark bodies so long as the weight of the fins did not exceed 5% of the total weight. Shark fishermen could cheat this system though by piling fins from every shark caught, then filling the hold with the bodies of smaller sharks. New Scientist reported on Earth Day that U.S. is ending shark finning in its water.

The new rule, which will come into effect in time for the shark-fishing season in June, is part of a plan to help badly overfished populations of sharks recover. It will only protect sharks until 2012, when fisheries managers will reevaluate the stocks.

A measure to permanently require that sharks be landed intact was introduced to the US Congress last week. The European Union is also considering similar measures to enforce the ban on finning.

According to Wikipedia, Europe supplies Hong Kong with 1/3 of the imported shark fins. Spain is the top european supplier at between 2000 and 5000 metric tonnes of shark fins a year.

Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.


2 Replies to “US Bans Shark-Finning”

  1. “Europe supplies Hong Kong with 1/3 of the imported shark fins. Spain is the top european supplier at between 2000 and 5000 metric tonnes of shark fins a year.”
    This is obscene! I wouldn’t have thought that there were enough sharks left in Europe’s oceans to provide between 2000 and 5000 metric tonnes of shark fins. How on earth does one go about trying to stop this sort of species slaughter? Whales have emotive value, but sharks suffer (wrongly) a bad reputation. Shark finning is a vile and barbarous practice, with many animals returned, finless but alive, to die miserably on the sea floor. Could somebody suggest ways to go to stop this?

  2. Mrs Minor –
    It’s not all from European waters, but from European flagged ships that return to European ports and offload their refrigerated (or in this case not?) cargo for processing etc…

    Sorta like when the cod were being fished heavily by the Portuguese fishing fleets off North America in the 1500’s or the Basque whalers of the same period.

    As for stopping it…

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