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Thread: MoEF greenlights Shark Fins naturally attached policy

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    Default MoEF greenlights Shark Fins naturally attached policy

    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.

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    A welcome move to regulate shark fishing in India, the world's second largest shark producer. Finning results in hundreds of sharks being killed (that too extremely inhumanely), so that boats can manage their storage space better by keeping the most valuable parts alone. Fishing whole sharks certainly will reduce the pressure on these animals.
    The implementation of this policy could remain a hurdle since there are virtually no authorities regularly monitoring the fisheries. But as consumers, we certainly can make a difference. During my stay in Karwar, I came across a few fishermen who told me about isolated places where sharks are landed (away from the main landing centre), they would refuse to divulge the exact location. Sharks would often be landed at the harbour too, right in front of the local forest office at the port. (No clue about all the species caught, but they certainly do catch very young pups, as well as a few species listed as "data deficient".) Fishermen would also warn me against photographing this catch. Most of the shark meat makes its way to restaurants where "shark" is not on the menu, but is recommended by waiters/chefs! So by refusing shark meat fished from undisclosed sources using unregulated practices, we can do our bit.

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