Taiwan to Establish Shark Finning Ban

Oct 21, 2011, 15:35 ET from The Pew Environment Group

Pew says ending finning a good step, but does not save sharks

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in response to an announcement by the Taiwan Fisheries Agency that it will impose a ban next year on shark finning—the practice of slicing off the animal's fins on-board and then throwing away the body at sea—and mandate that sharks are landed with their fins attached.

"This announcement is an indication that Taiwan is on the right track when it comes to protecting sharks. However, it falls short of what is really needed. With up to 73 million sharks killed every year, many by Taiwan's fleet, a finning ban does not address the larger overfishing problem that is driving these animals toward extinction. 

"As the images we released this week show, enormous numbers of sharks are coming into Taiwan's ports. The announced policy does not set limits on how many sharks can be killed by Taiwanese vessels fishing in any ocean. As such, the hunt will continue.

"To truly reduce the excessive pressure fishing has on these animals, Taiwan should prohibit catching sharks that are threatened or near threatened with extinction. It should also end fishing of shark species that do not have science-based management plans in place to ensure that these animals are caught at a sustainable level. As countries around the world are establishing sanctuaries that ban shark fishing in their own waters, we hope Taiwan will move to further protect sharks."

On Wednesday, October 19, 2011, the Pew Environment Group released images and video taken in Taiwan that detail the expansive and unregulated nature of shark fishing globally. The depictions show fins and body parts of biologically vulnerable shark species, such as scalloped hammerhead and oceanic whitetip, being readied for market.

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands and promote clean energy. For more information, visit www.PewEnvironment.org.

Contact: Kymberly Escobar, kescobar@pewtrusts.org, 202.441.9995

SOURCE The Pew Environment Group