Taiwan to ban shark finning
The Taiwan Fisheries Agency has announced that it will impose a ban on shark finning next year.
The move makes Taiwan the first Asian country to introduce a regulation that will require fishermen to unload shark fins and bodies simultaneously. Violators could face heavy fines or suspension of their fishing licenses.
The ban comes after Pew Environment Group listed Taiwan as one of the countries that overfish sharks and called for action to protect the species. Pew said Taiwan has the fourth-largest shark catch in the world after Indonesia, India and Spain. The four countries account for more than 35 percent of the global shark landings.
“This announcement is an indication that Taiwan is on the right track when it comes to protecting sharks. However it falls short of what is really needed. With up to 73 million sharks killed every year, many by Taiwan’s fleet, a finning ban does not address the larger overfishing problem that is driving these animals toward extinction,” said Matt Rand, Pew director of global shark conservation.
“To truly reduce the excessive pressure fishing has on these animals, Taiwan should prohibit catching sharks that are threatened or near threatened with extinction,” he added. “It should also end fishing of shark species that do not have science-based management plans in place to ensure that these animals are caught at a sustainable level. As countries around the world are establishing sanctuaries that ban shark fishing in their own waters, we hope Taiwan will move to further protect sharks.”
In late September, Singapore-based supermarket chain Cold Storage announced it would no longer sell shark fin and shark products at its 42 locations countrywide.