Asia countries oppose shark fin ban at Cape meeting

2013-11-26 10:52
Costa Rican shark fishermen exploit a legal loophole by keeping fins 'naturally attached'. (Photo: Interpol)

Costa Rican shark fishermen exploit a legal loophole by keeping fins 'naturally attached'. (Photo: Interpol)

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Cape Town – Three Asian countries have opposed a proposal to strengthen the current ban on shark finning at the annual meeting of the Atlantic tuna commission held in Cape Town.

“The demand for shark fins are mostly driven by the Asian market,” senior manager for the marine programme at WWF-SA, John Duncan, told News24.

“They don’t like the concept of having to land a whole shark because that reduces their profitability quite significantly,” he said.

At the annual meeting for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) a proposal was made to strengthen the current ban on shark finning.

The proposal was defeated by radical opposition from Japan, China, and Korea.

'Naturally attached'

According to Duncan the proposal aimed to implement a no-finning approach whereby fishing boats either have to land the full shark with fins attached or the fins and the bodies in a particular ratio.

This is to prevent people from finning the sharks and throwing the bodies overboard, a measure that reduces catches due to space limitations in ship holds.

Huffington Post reports that Costa Rican shark fishermen are exploiting a legal loophole to avoid national legislation which states that the fins must be “naturally attached” to its body when it is brought onto land.

The tactic involves butchering sharks and leaving only a band of skin to keep the fins attached to the spine and throwing the rest of the body out to sea.

The shark fin trade is a lucrative business where 1kg can be sold for up to $650 according to Shark Truth.

A study quoted by Save Our Seas found that 26-73 million sharks ends up in the fin trade annually.

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Read more on:    wwf  |  cape town  |  conservation

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