Today, the Chilean National Congress passed legislation that completely bans shark finning. The bill, promoted by Oceana, requires every shark that fishermen catch to be landed with their fins naturally attached. The President of Chile is expected to sign the legislation within thirty days.
"With the passage of this law, Chile becomes a leader in the protection of these animals that are so important to marine ecosystems. We knew that large quantities of shark fins were being exported from our country. This practice meant the deaths of thousands of sharks each year. With this new law we will have a critical tool to protect and recover these most exploited species," said Alex Muñoz, Oceana vice president for South America.
In taking this momentous action, Chile joins a growing list of countries using the gold standard for ending shark finning – requiring whole sharks to be landed. Because sharks do not respect national boundaries, this action by Chile will help protect shark populations and ocean health in other parts of South America as well.
Chile has become a large shark fin exporter, which severely threatened shark populations. A Freedom of Information Act request filed by Oceana to the Chilean National Customs Service revealed that between 2006 and 2009, 71 tons of dry shark fins from eight different species were exported. The vast majority of shark fins are sent to Asia for use in sharkfin soup.