The UK Announces Ban On The Shark Fin Trade!

Oct 15, 2021by Olivia - F&F

Good news — the UK Government is cracking down on the shark fin trade! The Minister for Pacific and the Environment, Zac Goldsmith, recently announced the ban on the import and export of detached shark fins and products containing them, and described the practice as “indescribably cruel”.

UK Bans The Import & Export Of Shark Fins

After watching Seaspiracy, many of us were appalled and horrified by the global shark fin trade. Whilst many countries have enacted full or partial bans on the practice of shark finning in their waters, the reality is that the shark fin trade is thriving. 

Shark fins can sell for AUD$1,100 per kilogram — making it the most expensive seafood sold by weight. The fins, which are cut from the bodies of sharks, are typically used for shark fin soup, which is associated with wealth and festivity. 

Thankfully, the UK Government has announced a complete ban on any byproduct of the cruel shark fin trade. So, this means that the import and export of detached shark fins is now illegal, but this also extends to products containing shark fins — such as tinned shark fin soup.

UK Government Describes Shark Finning As ‘Indescribably Cruel’ 

Removing a shark’s fins at sea and discarding the body back into the water is incredibly gruesome and needlessly cruel. Around 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins. 

According to Minister Goldsmith, “shark finning is indescribably cruel and causes thousands of shark to die terrible deaths. It is also unforgivably wasteful. The practice is rightly banned in UK waters, but the trade continues, with serious implications for the future of these magnificent creatures”.

Not only will this ban help to protect dwindling shark populations, it will also send a clear message that the UK will not support an industry built upon barbaric practices. The act of shark finning has been banned in the UK for nearly 20 years, but this recent announcement will stamp out all shark fin products from entering or exiting the UK.

Diving With SharksDiving With Sharks

Why Are Shark Populations Declining?

With over 500 known species, sharks are found everywhere in our oceans — from the deep sea, to coral reefs, to coastal areas — even under Arctic ice! 

Sadly, in almost half a century, we’ve lost roughly 71 per cent of our global shark and ray populations. It’s estimated that 100 million sharks are killed every year from enormous driftnets, longlines and trawling — both deliberately and unintentionally. 

“Sharks have been around for millions of years and play a crucial role for the health of our oceans yet, as a consequence of human activity, many shark species are critically endangered and face extinction in some regions,” said Shark Conservationist, James Glancy in response to the ban. Glancy says that the new measures from the UK Government to protect sharks from the cruel shark fin trade have been welcomed by conservationists.

Sharks Are Friends Not FoodSharks Are Friends Not Food

UK’s Action Plan For Animal Welfare

The UK Government’s crackdown on the shark fin trade is part of its Action Plan For Animal Welfare, which includes a range of measures to improve animal welfare standards — both domestically and overseas.

We’re pleased to hear that the UK Government is looking to end the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening; the use of cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for pigs; the puppy smuggling trade; the rates of pet theft; the practice of keeping primates as pets, as well as improving animal welfare standards in zoos and increasing conservation measures. They’re also exploring a ban on the fur trade and foie gras imports into the UK.

The UK is leading the way with its new legislation to ban the import and export of shark fin products! To end this cruel practice for good, we need more countries to step up and ban all byproducts from the shark fin trade. Shark finning has absolutely no place in the developed world. Now, more than ever, we need to be protecting and growing our shark populations to keep our oceans healthy! 

Did you know that shark finning is still occurring in Australian waters? There are some major loopholes in Western Australia’s fishing laws which allows the live-finning practice to occur. If you’re shocked by this, please sign the petition to end live-finning for good.

If you’d like to learn more about our precious marine species and ways to protect them, please check out the blogs below. 

It’s Shark Awareness Day!

What We Learned From Watching Seaspiracy

Southern Right Whale Sightings Are Sparking Joy Around Australia

More Articles