The Taiwan Fisheries Agency has announced that it will impose a ban on shark finning – the practice of slicing off the animal’s fins on-board and then throwing away the body at sea – next year, and mandate that sharks are landed with their fins attached. The move comes days after the Pew Environment Group published a series of photos exposing the sheer scale of the shark fin trade in Taiwan, which show fins and body parts of vulnerable shark species – including the scalloped hammerhead and oceanic whitetip – being prepared for the markets.
The new regulations are a step in the right direction, but, as Pew’s Matt Rand pointed out, they only mandate that the sharks are returned to port with fins attached – they do not address the larger problem of large-scale shark overfishing that is threatening many species of these slow-maturing animals:
"Unfortunately, since there are no limits on the number of these animals that can be killed in the open ocean, this activity can continue unabated," Pew’s Matt Rand said in a statement. "This strip-mining of the world’s sharks is clearly unsustainable."