The Beacon

Second-Biggest Shark-Catching Country in World BANS SHARK FINNING

This 2010 map shows the top 20 countries annual shark catch worldwide. India, ranking #2, has moved to ban shark finning throughout the country and its waters. l Image: FAO Fisheries Department

“This news is big, and we are absolutely thrilled to share it with you – India has moved to outlaw shark finning! India ranks second only to Indonesia in terms of the number of sharks caught each year, so this ban is a major victory for ever-dwindling shark populations.

The brutal practice of shark finning involves slicing off a shark’s fins, often while the shark is still alive, then tossing the shark back into the water to drown or bleed to death. Shark meat is far less valuable than their fins, which means that their bodies take up precious cargo space, creating an incentive to only keep the most valuable parts and allowing more sharks to be caught on each trip.  The United States and European Union have already banned the practice of shark finning in their respective waters

Approximately 100 million sharks are killed each year in fishing operations, primarily to support the demand for shark fin soup. These sharks are needlessly slaughtered each year, all for a bowl of soup.  At the rate of one hundred million sharks killed every year, humans may wipe out some shark populations out entirely in the coming decades if we don’t change something.  

The demand for shark fins and shark fin soup comes primarily from China – last year alone, fishermen in India exported approximately $4.8 million worth of fins to China. Combined, the countries of India and Indonesia account for 20 percent the world’s shark catch, according to a report by the international wildlife monitoring agency, TRAFFIC, highlighting the significant impact of India’s new shark fin ban.

“Shark finning is driving some shark populations to drastically low levels.  By requiring sharks to be landed with their fins attached, not only will it stop this barbaric practice, but it will also allow for better management for India’s shark fisheries,” explained Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell.  ”Other countries should follow the U.S., EU and India’s leads to stop shark finning worldwide.”

We applaud India for this important step, and urge other countries to take steps to protect sharks.

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