MoEF prohibits Removal of Shark Fins in the Sea
In a welcome move, the Hon’ble Minister of State (IC) for MoEF Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan has given her consent to the policy banning removal of Shark fins on board of a vessel in the sea. According to the new policy, possession of fins not attached to the shark bodies will be construed as hunting of a Schedule I species and invite due penalties. The Policy calls for concerted action and implementation by the concerned State Governments through appropriate legislative, enforcement and other measures.
In a ghastly practice, fishermen catch sharks and then cut off their fins and then drop the shark back into water. Without the fins attached the shark sinks to the bottom and dies a painful death. Fins are used as in Shark Fin soup and it is considered a delicacy abroad. Fishermen cut off the fins to maximize the amount of fins they can get on board of their vessel. This inhuman practice was also carried out by our fishermen due to lack of legislations.
Sharks are apex predators and due to their indiscriminate hunting, there is a major imbalance in the marine ecosystem. The shark fin trade has multiplied the pressure on the species and is pushing them on the verge of extinction.
Ten species of sharks are given protection as Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Cutting off the fins has resulted in difficulty in identifying these Schedule I species from others and hinders enforcement. With the change in policy, often referred as “naturally attached” shark fins can’t be cut off and the carcass thrown to the waters, hence the amount of shark fin trade is expected to come under control.
We congratulate the Hon'ble Minister and MoEF for stopping the inhumane practice of removal of shark fins from live sharks in the sea.