UK and USA take steps towards banning the shark fin trade

Posted by David Henning on 24 August 2021

Even though shark finning has been banned in the terrestrial waters of the US and UK for some time now, both countries are still involved in the trade, and a complete ban is welcomed within conservation circles.

Picture: Unsplash

According to Oceanographic, the UK banned shark finning in its waters in 2013, but it was still legal to bring 25kg of shark fin into the country for ‘personal consumption.’

The UK’s International Ocean Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith announced on 15 August 2021 that the shark fin ban will be implemented, where the Island nation reportedly exported approximately 29.7 tonnes of fresh shark fins, worth £216,000 (R4 447 300).

‘Shark finning is indescribably cruel and causes thousands of sharks to die terrible deaths. It is also unforgivably wasteful. The practice is rightly banned in UK waters, but the trade continues, with serious implications for the future of these magnificent creatures,’ commented Goldsmith.

The UK’s announcement forms part of the government plan to eradicate cruel practices and improve standards as set out in their Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

The US is also intent on banning the trade, taking two major legislative steps. According to Ecowatch, the US is intent on banning the commercial shark fin trade in the US and addressing and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The US is ratifying the ban on shark fins by drafting the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act makes it illegal to possess, buy, sell or transport shark fins or any product containing shark fins.

The legislative move comes after studies about shark and ray populations highlighted a decline of more than 70% over the last 50 years, with over 73 million sharks killed and traded annually.

In South Africa, Demersal shark species are still caught in the fishing industry, with more than 150 tonnes caught in 2016. Some researchers are even attributing the disappearance of Cape Town’s great whites to a decline in their main food source, smaller sharks.


The fatal side of shark nets

Feature image: Getaway gallery


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