Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: SAFE For Animals
In 2014 it became illegal to remove fins at sea from sharks caught in New Zealand waters and discard their bodies into the ocean. However, it remains legal for sharks to be finned onshore and the fins sold to foreign markets. The fins must still be attached to the shark’s body when it is brought ashore. Fins taken from shark bycatch can also be sold.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Bianka Atlas said it’s unconscionable that shark finning is allowed to continue.
“Aotearoa should be doing all it can to protect sharks,” said Atlas. “It’s a disgrace that shark finning is still occurring in our waters.”
Last year the Government announced it would spend $40 million to $60 million to roll out cameras on commercial fishing vessels, with the goal of 345 cameras installed by the end of 2024.
This would account for about 84 percent of the inshore fleet. But this is only a tiny fraction of Aotearoa’s full commercial fishing fleet, which is made up of 1500 registered vessels.
“Because of this inconsistent monitoring, we don’t know how pervasive shark finning is in Aotearoa waters or whether sharks are caught legally. And this is likely to continue without compulsory onboard cameras.”
“We urge the Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker to ensure cameras and observers are installed on all commercial fishing boats without delay.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.
Notes for editors:
– Seafood New Zealand figures show that in 2020, New Zealand exported 9 tonnes of shark fins to Singapore and 4.5 tonnes to the Pacific Islands – the majority to French Polynesia, with smaller volumes to Micronesia, Palau and Papua New Guinea.
– Since 2014, it has been illegal in New Zealand for fishers to remove fins from sharks and then discard their bodies into the ocean. However, sharks can be legally landed, finned and sold to foreign markets. The fins must still be attached to the shark’s body when brought ashore. Fins taken from shark bycatch can also be sold. There are also specific requirements for some species. Finning of live sharks has been illegal in New Zealand since 2009.
– Shark finning involves cutting off a shark’s fins, often while the shark is still alive, and discarding the shark’s body back into the ocean. Despite being widely condemned as a barbaric and wasteful practice, shark finning continues unabated due to the demand for shark fin soup – a symbol of status and prosperity in some cultures.
– The major threat facing sharks globally is overfishing. Driven by demand for shark meat, fins, liver oil, cartilage, skin, teeth and jaws, it is estimated that between 63 million and 273 million sharks are killed each year. As this does not account for illegal, unrecorded or discarded catch, the actual number of sharks killed is likely to be much higher.