Why We Need Fin Trade Laws




Things are worse than the public realizes

Shark populations are endangered due to multiple threats. The biggest threat by far is the trade of fins. Much of what goes on in commercial fisheries goes unnoticed.

  • 100 million sharks are killed each year and the fins from up to 73 million sharks are sold for shark fin soup.

  • 70% of the 14 most common shark species involved are considered at high or very high risk of extinction.

  • Some shark populations have declined by more than 90% in recent decades due to overfishing. 

  • More than 70 shark species are at risk of extinction.

Focusing on the trade

Individual fishermen may make a little bit of extra money from fins, and restaurants may enjoy the status of offering the dish, but the real money is made by the traders. The same organizations that deal with fins are often involved in other illegal dealings, such as other endangered species products or drug trafficking. The sale and trade of a product that rivals the drug trade must be addressed differently than other fisheries management issues. 

The profits made from fins ensure that the overfishing of sharks continues, year after year. It will only end when we run out of sharks. Shark fin trade laws address the trade of a product that is harming us all, no matter where you live or what you do for a living. Recreational and subsistence fishermen do not need to worry that their fishing rights are affected, as long as they do not try to profit from the sale of fins.  

Stefanie Brendl