What is Finning?
The Act Of Finning
Finning is the process whereby the fins of the shark are cut off and the rest of the animal is discarded, most often while the animal is still alive. The shark sinks to the bottom and dies a slow and agonizing death by either bleeding out, being eaten by other fish or slowly suffocating. Sharks cannot swim or float without fins and most species cannot breathe while stationary. Fins will not grow back.
Finning is an utterly cruel and wasteful practice, and it has been banned in many countries in recent years. Finning exists due to the high demand and high profit margin for shark fins, which are the main ingredient for Shark Fin Soup. Even if finning doesn’t take place at sea, and sharks are brought to land before they are finned, millions of sharks are wasted simply because of the value the fin represents. The bodies are often discarded or sold as a low grade product.
The Shark Finning Prohibition Act was signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. This Act prohibits finning by any vessel in U.S. waters, as well as the possession of fins by any U.S. fishing vessel in international waters. It also bans any fishing vessel from landing at a U.S. port with shark fins if the weight exceeds 5% of the total weight of shark carcasses landed or on board. Of course, these provisions left many loopholes that will be explained in the following sections.