The Beacon

Blog Tags: Shark Fin Soup

Fins Are Finished

(Photo: Choo Yut Shing)

Each year, millions of sharks are slaughtered for their fins to meet the demand for shark fin soup. Over the past few years, several U.S. states passed laws against the trade in shark fins to help shut down the market. In the recent issue of Oceana magazine, we reveal how a government agency is taking steps to undermine these bans.


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Hong Kong Bans Shark Fin Soup at Government Functions

Dried shark fins are the key ingredient in shark fin soup. (Photo: Choo Yut Shing) 

We have some encouraging news for you out of Hong Kong – the government of Hong Kong announced that it will no longer serve shark fin soup at government functions, and that it will encourage government-funded bodies to do the same.


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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


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BIG NEWS for the Big Apple: NY Bans Shark Fin Trade!

With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature today, New York joins Maryland and Delaware as the third state on the East Coast to ban the sale, trade, distribution and possession of shark fins throughout the state, and the eighth state in the nation to adopt the ban. Every state that passes similar laws moves our country closer to shutting down the U.S. market for shark fin soup. This newly minted victory is already threatened, however, by proposals by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to block these important measures.


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VICTORY: European Union Bans All Shark Finning!

© Oceana/Carlos Suarez

We at Oceana are thrilled to share this news with you – the European Union (EU) has just officially adopted a strict ban on shark finning! Saturday ended nearly a decade of battle to close several enforcement loopholes that had permitted some forms of shark finning. Finning has technically been prohibited in the EU since 2003, but an exemption allowed Member States to issue special permits for fishing vessels to remove shark fins on board. In particular, an exemption used by Spain and Portugal allowed some vessels to remove sharks’ fins at sea, which made it nearly impossible to detect and monitor the finning that was occurring.


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California's Shark Fin Ban Officially in Effect! The Catch Is...

California has banned shark fins within the state...for now

Let's start with the good news: As of yesterday, July 1, California's shark fin ban (passed in 2011) officially came into effect! California grocers that stocked shark fins and restaurants that offered shark fin soup on the menu had 18 months to move their product. During the 18 month interim, the Los Angeles Times reports that one San Gabriel Valley restaurant specializing in the delicacy shut down, while several retailers in Chinatown bemoaned the large stock of shark fins still at hand. 


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Brunei Becomes First Asian Country to Ban Shark Finning!

Brunei's strong ban on shark finning sets an admirable step for the rest of Asia to follow! Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We have some big news for  you –Brunei has become the first Asian country to adopt a nationwide shark fin ban! With his June 7 announcement, Sultan Hossanal Bolkiah’s decree officially banned the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters of Brunei Darussalam, as well as shark fin sales in the domestic market, and the importation and trade of shark products.


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VICTORY! EU Shark Fin Ban Loopholes to Be Closed

The European Union closed a final loophole in their shark fin bans, effectively making shark finning forbidden by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels around the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We’ve got some great news to share with you – The European Union (EU) agreed on Thursday to tighten their existing ban on shark finning, and to effectively close a final loophole in the ban on finning. With the change, shark finning will be forbidden by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels around the world. “Shark finning is one of the main threats to the shark population,” Sandrine Polti, policy adviser to the Shark Alliance, explained to the Huffington Post. “We’re now in a much better position to push for a global shark-finning ban.”


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Victory! Delaware Becomes Seventh State in U.S. to Ban Shark Fin Trade!

Shark fins, like these drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong, can no longer be sold, traded, possessed, or distributed in the state of Delaware! Source: Nicholas Wang

Yesterday, Delaware became the seventh state to prohibit the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins within state borders. By signing House Bill 41, Gov. Jack Markell not only made Delaware the second East Coast state to ban the shark fin trade, but he sent the message that sharks are worth more in the oceans than in a bowl of shark fin soup.


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Victory! Maryland Becomes First East Coast State to Ban Shark Fin Trade!

Governor Martin O'Malley signs bill into law banning possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins in Maryland

Maryland made history today by becoming the first East Coast state to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. They join the entire West Coast, as well as Illinois and Hawaii, in banning the fin trade, which drives the cruel and unnecessary act of shark finning and is contributing to the near-extinction of many shark species.


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