India bans removal of shark fins on seas

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment and Forests

23. August 2013


Prohibition of Removal of Shark Fins in the Sea

With a view to stop the inhuman hunting of sharks and to enable the enforcement agencies to monitor the illegal hunting/poaching of the species of Elasmobranchs listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan has approved a policy for prohibiting the removal of shark fins on board a vessel in the sea. The policy prescribes that any possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body of the shark, would amount to “hunting” of a Schedule I species. The Policy calls for concerted action and implementation by the concerned State Governments through appropriate legislative, enforcement and other measures.

Sharks, Rays and Skates (Elasmobranchs) are an important part of the marine ecosystem. They play an important the role in maintenance of the marine ecosystem like tigers and leopards in the forests. India is known to be home to about 40-60 species of sharks. However, the population of some of these have declined over the years due to several reasons including over exploitation and unsustainable fishing practices. Therefore, ten species of sharks have been listed in the Schedule- I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby, according them the highest degree of protection.

Due to high demand of shark fines in the shark fin-soup industry, it has been reported that the fins of the sharks captured in the mid sea are removed on the vessel and the de finned sharks are thrown back in the sea to die a painful death. This has not only resulted in in-human killing of large number of sharks and in this process, but also has further decimated the population of Schedule I species. This practice prevailing on board the shipping vessels has led to difficulties in enforcement of provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 as it becomes difficult to identify the species of sharks from the fins alone, without the corresponding carcass, from which the fins have been detached.

(Release ID :98575)

Leave a Reply