Shark News

Awareness of the shark finning problem is growing. News articles are being published around the world that discuss and draw attention to the issue.

Below are just a few of the news articles we've found and would like to share with you...


January 6, 2009 -- ABC News -  Australia

Fisheries Minister 'disgusted' by shark slaughter

The Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has revealed charges have been laid over a shark slaughter on the north-west coast.

Photos recently released to the media showed the mutilated remains of sharks scattered across 80 Mile Beach, they had been killed for their fins and dumped.

The photos were sent to the Department of Fisheries 10 months ago but the then Minister Jon Ford decided not to release them, fearing a backlash against the local fishing industry.

However the new Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has told the ABC a number of charges have been laid

"There is a listing for Broome Court sometime in February when this matter will come to trial," he said.

"I thought it was dreadful that someone could catch that number of sharks and simply dispose of them dump them on the beach.

"What offended me most was the wanton waste, of these fish, that they'd been left on the beach and not even buried."

Two WA fishermen operating in the area at the time of the offence have already had their licences revoked by the Department.

original article


December 4, 2008 -- Irin News -  Kenya

MADAGASCAR: Too few sharks is a bad thing

Coastal communities in southwestern Madagascar, who risk their lives travelling long distances in dugout canoes to supply a lucrative demand for shark fins, face an uncertain future as unsustainable fishing practices threaten the survival of the marine resources on which they depend.

People in villages along the southwestern coast are reporting a dramatic decrease in all marine resources. "Around 2000 the decline really started here. The octopus catch fell and sea cucumbers disappeared. Some fish species also disappeared," Roger Samba, in the village of Andavadoaka, in Toliara Province, told IRIN.

"It is difficult to catch enough fish to sell. People go far away, fishing from early in the morning until late at night, to catch not even 10kg or 20kg of fish - just 5kg."

When shark fisherman Zoffe loads his nets into his pirogue (a dugout canoe, often with a sail) in the morning and sets out from his home in the coastal town of Morombe into the deep waters of the Mozambique Channel, he knows that he will be lucky if he catches anything.

"It is really hard to catch shark now," Zoffe told IRIN. "Things are not like they used to be; before, there used to be shark very near the shore - just five metres below the surface of the sea - now they are only found very far away, and are very deep. They are very difficult to catch."



November 30, 2008 -- Brisbane Times -  Australia

Reef latest target for illegal fishers

MARINE conservationists say the interception of a Papua New Guinea fishing boat laden with four tonnes of  "de-finned" sharks in Australian waters shows illegal shark fishing has become a worldwide enterprise and the Great Barrier Reef could be its next target.

On Thursday, Australian Customs authorities escorted an illegal fishing boat to Cairns after it was spotted 6.6 nautical miles east of Ashmore Reef  an Australian Nature Reserve west of Darwin.

The boat was first detected by a Customs Coastwatch aircraft last Sunday and was intercepted.

A search a revealed about four tonnes of sharks, with their fins cut off.

Twenty shark jaws, 20 tuna and 20 assorted large fish were also allegedly discovered on board. Customs could not confirm whether the vessel's 15 crew members had been charged.

Marine conservationist, researcher and Fox Shark Research Foundation director Andrew Fox said a shark finning industry in Papua New Guinea had previously been unheard of and the fact the vessel was from the region showed the industry had become truly international.



November 20, 2008 -- Vancouver Sun -  Canada

Atlantic sharks at risk due to over-fishing: study

shark_news_081120_1_Vancouver_SunGENEVA – More than a quarter of sharks in the northeast Atlantic Ocean face extinction with some species already wiped out in certain areas due to over-fishing, a conservation group said on Monday.

Twenty-six percent of sharks, rays and chimaeras are threatened with extinction and another 20 percent are in the 'near threatened' category, the Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a statement.

In the whole northeast Atlantic region, seven percent of species are classified as 'critically endangered,' another 7 as 'endangered,' and 12 percent as 'vulnerable,' the report said.

"From angel sharks to devil rays, northeast Atlantic populations of these vulnerable species are in serious trouble, more so than in may other parts of the world," said Claudine Gibson, the report's lead-author and a former Programme Officer for the IUCN's Shark Specialist Group (SSG).



November 14, 2008 -- Underwater Times

Fishermen Block Costa Rican Port To Protest New Law Banning Shark Finning

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica  -- A cruise ship carrying 1,300 passengers that was scheduled to arrive at Costa Rica's Pacific port of Puntarenas had to be diverted to Panama because of a protest by fishermen that left three people arrested and caused an estimated $250,000 in losses, authorities said Thursday.

The detainees, according to a statement by the Security Ministry, were captains of small fishing vessels who barred the entrance of the Coral Princess in a protest over a new law banning shark finning, the controversial process of removing shark fins - often while the animal is still alive - to provide the ingredients for the popular Asian dish of shark fin soup.

Fishermen now must unload the whole shark at docks to comply with the law.

The San Jose daily La Nacion on Thursday reported that the Princess Cruises cruise line sent a protest note to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute over the incident, which, according to National Tourism Chamber President Gonzalo Vargas, could result in as much as $250,000 in losses.

Tourists could have spent that amount on handicrafts made by local artisans, food at restaurants, and guided tours offered by local tourism companies, he said.

During Costa Rica's cruise season, from October to April, some 125 vessels carrying 140,000 passengers are expected to arrive at Costa Rica's Pacific ports and an equal number at Atlantic ports.

A country with just 4.5 million inhabitants, Costa Rica last year received 1.9 million international tourist arrivals and the revenue generated by international tourists reached a historic high of $1.9 billion.

Most of those visitors arrived by plane to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central American country, which is home to 4.5 percent of the planet's biodiversity.

original article


November 10, 2008 -- Environmental News Network

Fishing threatens North Atlantic sharks

LONDON (Reuters) - A quarter of sharks and rays are threatened with being fished out of existence in the Northeast Atlantic, the International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN) said on Monday.

That is far above the threat level globally, reflecting the activity of fishing nations such as Spain, Portugal, France and Britain, the Swiss-based conservation group

The IUCN hopes that its findings will drive tougher fishing controls in the European Union -- and recommended a zero catch for spiny dogfish and all deepwater sharks, and an end to fishing for common skates.

"Action is absolutely necessary to change the current course toward extinction of these remarkable ocean animals," said Sonja Fordham, co-author of the first IUCN report assessing threat levels for sharks specifically in the northeast Atlantic.



November 3, 2008 -- Reuters

Rising Asian shark fin demand hits stocks: report

Rising demand for shark fin soup in Asia is spurring illegal fishing and contributing to a plunge in stocks, a report said on Monday.

The study, by the Australian government and the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, urged governments to crack down on illegal catches. Registered legal shark exports totaled $310 million worldwide in 2005, up from $237 million in 2002.

"As the world's demand for sharks continues to grow, shark populations are plummeting," said a statement accompanying the 57-page report. One in five shark species is considered threatened with extinction.

"The Asian market for shark fin is the key driver of shark fishing globally and is fuelling illegal fishing and high levels of legitimate shark fishing of questionable sustainability," it said.



November 2, 2008 -- Cape Times - South Africa

Scientists find mutilated shark's carcass

A suspicious death on a remote coastline, a mutilated carcass and an anonymous tipoff.

One shark's tale which played out in False Bay this week had all the drama and intrigue of a Hollywood epic, except in this case, the victim was a 4,6m great white shark named Henry.

He was spotted in the surf at Macassar early last Saturday, but by the time Marine and Coastal Management officials arrived on the scene, his head and fins had been hacked off.

What led to his death is still baffling scientists, dismayed to discover he was a shark they had identified a few years back.

Alison Kock, a marine biologist at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre in Kalk Bay, says her first encounter with Henry was in 2005 at Seal Island and again in August.

Sharks are catalogued, and these numbers can get quite long, so some of the bigger animals are given nicknames which reflect their personalities and behaviour.

"You don't see many over 4 metres like Henry. He was a very confident animal and spent quite a bit of time around our boat."

Kock was convinced the shark had fallen victim to trophy hunters who had taken the jaw and teeth to trade on the black market, where they fetch thousands of dollars.



October 10, 2008 -- The Telegraph - UK

Tesco to review sale of shark fin products

Tesco is to review the sale of shark fin products in its stores following claims by environmentalists that demand for the product is in danger of wiping out endangered species.

More than half of the world's sharks are under threat of extinction but demand for the delicacy shark fin soup means millions are killed every year.

According to conservationists, the fins are cut from living sharks that are left to die in the water.

However Tesco, the world's third largest retail group, is selling shark fin products in its stores in Thailand where it is considered to have medicinal properties.

Ali Hood, Shark Trust director of conservation, said a multinational group that prides itself on its environmental record should withdraw the product.

She said: "Sharks now rank amongst the most endangered species on the planet and the demand for shark fins is the root cause of the alarming decline in shark populations.



September 27, 2008 -- Underwater Times

First As Malaysian Eco Resort Stops Serving Shark's Fin Soup; Finning 'Despicable And Shameful Practice'

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia -- At least one resort here has started the ball rolling to prevent sharks being cruelly mutilated for their prized fins at sea.

In doing so, it has become the first tourism establishment in the State - and perhaps the nation - to implement a previous Federal Minister's call (Science, Technology and Environment Minster Datuk Azmi Khaled) to government agencies and departments to stop serving shark's fin soup at functions.

Gayana Eco Resort will refrain from serving shark fin soup at its recently-refurbished Alu Alu Seafood Restaurant.

"Killing sharks and throwing them away just for their fins is a despicable and shameful practice that must be stopped," said Nilakrisna James, spokesperson and PR Consultant for the resort.

Internationally renowned marine scientist and zoologist Dr Mabel Manjaji Matsumoto, in a dinner talk on "Sharks and Rays of Sabah" at the resort, Thursday, said some 100 million sharks are killed yearly for their fins.



September 20, 2008 -- Courier Mail - Australia

Shark fin soup consumption rising, experts warn

APART from carbon emissions, a certain fishy soup appears a likely suspect in a chain reaction threatening two thirds of life.

While the new "Mr 10 per cent", Ross Garnaut - the Government's climate change adviser - spins the carbon wheel to turn this warming land into a bargaining chip at the casino for carbon trade, and as the carbon clubbers cook up a breathless pea souper that melts those sparkling, semi-precious ice sheets, governments sanction a much hotter, deadlier brew. Fish soup.

The fairly innocuous-sounding, almost tasteless, and rather expensive so-called delicacy, shark fin soup, or fish wing soup in Chinese (the shark fin bit is conveniently lost in translation), supports ingredients of spectacular brutality that include serious fissures in the oxygen trade, ecosystem disruption and agonising death.



September 18, 2008 -- Reuters

Scientists name 100 new shark and ray species

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Scientists using DNA have catalogued and described 100 new species of sharks and rays in Australian waters, which they said on Thursday would help conservation of the marine animals and aid in climate change monitoring.

More than 90 of the newly named species were identified by scientists in a 1994 book "Sharks and Rays of Australia" but remained scientifically undescribed.

One rare species of carpet shark catalogued was found in the belly of another shark.

The new names and descriptions will now feature in a revised 2009 edition of the book by Australia's peak scientific body.

The Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) said its cataloguing of the new species was critical for the management of sharks and rays, which reproduce slowly and are vulnerable to overfishing.



August 28, 2008 -- The Standard -  Hong Kong

Nuptial diners try to save face, not sharks

Face and tradition outweigh ecology when it comes to wedding banquets, according to the manager of a top restaurant chain.

"Only a few couples have requested we change the menu due to environmental concerns," Maxim's Group Cantonese Cuisine senior operations manager Raymond Wong Tat-fai said yesterday.

Wong said most newlyweds still asked for a traditional menu not only to accommodate the requests of parents, but also because they fear they will lose face if shark's fin soup and steamed coral fish are not on the tables during the banquet.

Shark's fin and coral fish represent extravagance and are considered a must for banquets despite the fact both are on the list of endangered species.

In February 2007, 20.4 percent of all sharks and related species were included in the World Conservation Union red list as being threatened with extinction.



July 8, 2008 -- SF Gate -  San Francisco

House moves to keep shark fins out of fancy soups

The House took steps Tuesday to keep shark fins out of soups served in pricey Asian restaurants.

In a voice vote, the House tightened a 2000 law that bans the practice of shark finning, whereby mainly Pacific Ocean fishermen cut off a shark's fin and throw the dying fish back into the sea. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in some Asian countries.

Also on Tuesday, the House approved by voice and sent to the president legislation to implement a 1997 international treaty that limits sulfur oxide and other emissions from oceangoing vessels, a major source of pollution around the world.

The bill on sharks, whose populations are declining worldwide, prohibits vessels from having custody, control or possession of shark fins without the carcass. It closes a loophole in the 2000 act under which vessels were sailing into international waters to purchase shark fins from fishermen engaged in finning and then bringing them back into U.S. waters.



August 26, 2008 -- Stuff -  New Zealand

Foodies sign pledge against shark fin soup

Some of the country's best-known foodies have signed a pledge to help stop shark finning.

Shark finning involves cutting off the high-priced fins of sharks and dumping the rest of the body at sea.

While the practice is illegal in many countries, it is still permitted in New Zealand waters, said Forest and Bird which has drafted the pledge.

Signatories promise to not eat, make or serve shark fin soup, and either avoid restaurants which have shark fin soup on the menu or raise the issue with them if.

They must also not catch sharks just for their fins and support a law change to make shark finning illegal in New Zealand.

The pledge has been signed by chefs, food writers and TV presenters including Simon Holst, Peta Mathias, Julie Le Clerc and Richard Till.

The New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council has also signed the pledge.



May 22, 2008 -- BBC News -  UK

Sharks swim closer to extinction

More than half of the world's ocean-going sharks are at risk of extinction, a new analysis concludes.

shark_news_080522_1_Sharks_swim_closer_to_extinctionSpecialists with IUCN (formerly the World Conservation Union) found that 11 species are on the high-risk list, with five more showing signs of decline.

Sharks are particularly affected by over-fishing as they reproduce slowly.

The scientists are calling for global catch limits, an end to the practice of removing fins, and measures to minimise incidental catches (bycatch).

"There's this idea that because these are widely ranging species, they're more resilient to fishing pressure," said Sonja Fordham, deputy chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group (SSG) and policy director for the Shark Alliance conservation group.

"In fact they're becoming species of serious concern because there are no international catch limits for sharks. There are intense fisheries on the oceans, and they remain pretty much unprotected."



May 22, 2008 -- Reuters -  UK

Fin soup threatens survival of ocean sharks

Overfishing partly caused by booming demand for shark fin soup, a delicacy in some Asian countries, is threatening the existence of 11 kinds of ocean sharks, an international study showed on Thursday.

The fish, often seen as ferocious sea predators, suffer from largely unregulated fishing for their valuable fins, said the report into 21 species of sharks and rays living in the open oceans.

The experts who wrote the study, organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, also urged governments to quickly impose catch limits.

"The traditional view of oceanic sharks and rays as fast and powerful too often leads to a misperception that they are resilient to fishing pressure," Sonja Fordham, report co-author and deputy head of the IUCN's shark specialist group, said.

Thresher sharks, silky sharks and the shortfin mako are all under threat, said the report, presented at a May 19-30 U.N. biodiversity conference in the city of Bonn.



May 11, 2008 -- ABS CBN -  Philippines

Weddings boost Shark's fin consumption in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Shark's fin consumption more than doubled in Singapore last year from 2006, with demand driven by an economic boom and an increase in wedding celebrations, a report said Saturday.

Singapore consumed more than 470 tons in 2007, up from 182 tons the previous year and reversing a four-year decline, the Straits Times reported.

Strong economic growth in 2007 and a rise in the number of people getting married drove demand despite a 30-percent rise in shark's fin soup prices and appeals by environmental groups to ease consumption, it said.

Shark's fin soup is popular at Chinese wedding banquets, where it is seen as a status symbol.

"Most of the couple's parents consider this dish a premium and without it, they would lose face," Ruth Soh, communications director at the Mandarin Oriental, told the newspaper.

She said however that the hotel buys shark's fin only from fish farms.

Housewife Janet Gan was quoted as saying: "Shark's fin is a must at a wedding. It is like a birthday cake."

But Michael Aw, a marine conservationist, said more than 30 sharks have to be killed to feed a wedding banquet with 300 guests, according to the report.

"We must continue to educate the younger generation and make them see that sharks are guardians of the sea that ensure a balance in the food chain," Aw said.

The message is not lost to Melanie Tan, who will walk down the aisle next month.

"I don't want to be part of the cruel act of killing sharks just to make others satisfied on my wedding day," she was quoted as saying.

original article


May 7, 2008 -- Notiemail -  USA/Venezuela

Mexican boat carrying 3 tons of shark seized

A Mexican boat used for illegal fishing that was carrying three tons of captured shark was confiscated by authorities, officials said Wednesday.

The Pargo V was being employed 8 nautical miles from the island of Roca Partida, part of the Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, in violation of a law that stipulates such fishing must take place at least 12 nautical miles from the coasts in that area.

The boat's activity was detected by an oceanologist with Profepa, the federal agency that enforces environmental regulation, and later intercepted by members of that environmental organization and navy sailors. Its seven crew members were arrested in the operation.

The Pargo V was being used for shark fishing and, at the time of its seizure, was employing an 8-kilometer (5-mile) longline on which eight sharks had been hooked.

That vessel was the second boat confiscated in the area over the past three weeks for illegal fishing. In mid-April, the Sebastian I was seized 11 nautical miles from the nature reserve with 18 tons of shark.

Both boats currently are in the custody of the navy in the Colina port of Manzanillo.

The biosphere reserve encompasses the islands of Socorro, Clarion, Roca Partida and San Benedicto. It is protected under an agreement involving Profepa, the navy and the National Commission of Protected Areas that bans the fishing of species that are in danger of extinction, subject to temporary restrictions or located in a prohibited area. EFE

original article


March 21, 2008 -- The Raw Story - USA

Philippines raises alarm over shark 'slaughter'

The Philippines on Friday expressed alarm over the commercial hunting of the thresher shark, considered a vulnerable species worldwide.

They said there had been a wholesale slaughter of the 10-foot (three-metre) fish, considered a delicacy in Chinese restaurants here.

"We should stop this slaughter to preserve the ecological balance of our priceless natural heritage," said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza.

Local marine conservationist Gerry Reyes said many of the sharks were caught in the Verde Passage off the south coast of the main Philippine island of Luzon, which the government has designated a protected area.

Government patrols have recently seized thresher sharks caught by local fishermen living on the northern edge of the Verde Passage, Reyes told AFP.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which put the thresher shark on its "vulnerable" list last year, says the Verde Passage has the highest concentration of marine life in the world.

Atienza said he had asked authorities to help prevent the hunting and slaughter of the sharks there.

original article


September 16, 2007 -- Radio New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand

Raid in Palau finds Taiwanese fishing company with huge haul of illegal shark fins

A raid on one of Palau's largest foreign fishing companies has uncovered over 1,000 pounds of shark fins and crocodile meat.

The search was carried out at the facilities of Palau Marine Industries Corporation or PMIC.

The illegal items were frozen and wrapped in plastic bags and stored in a large container for possible shipping.

PMIC, a Taiwan fishing firm, is the same company that was found guilty of major tax evasion charges, involving 5.8 million US dollars.

PMIC is one of the three major fish exporting companies in Palau along with Kuniyoshi Fishing Company and Palau Marine Industries Corporation or PITI.

PITI was the subject of an August 15 Marine Law Enforcement seizure of 94 shark carcasses, 10 shark heads and 650 shark fins.

original article


May 14, 2007 -- Earth Times - London / New York

Hong Kong hospital group bans shark-fin soup from its menus

A hospital group that is Hong Kong's oldest and largest charitable organization has become the latest group to ban shark-fin soup from banquets, a newspaper reported Monday. The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals said it had decided to stop serving what is considered one of the most prized Chinese delicacies over concern about the world's declining shark population, the Standard said.

Shark fin has now been replaced by bird's nest or other Chinese-style soups.

Environmentalists estimates that millions of sharks are killed each month by finning, the process by which the fins of the shark are sliced off and the creature is left to die...  more


May 11, 2007 -- Environment News Service - USA

Australia's Newest Marine Reserve Safeguards Sharks

Habitat for a harmless shark that is one of Australia's most threatened marine species was protected today by a new marine reserve in Commonwealth waters off Australia's east coast.

The Australian government announced the creation of a 300 hectare reserve to protect grey nurse sharks at the Cod Grounds, a key aggregation site about four miles off the New South Wales coast, near Port Macquarie.

The Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve will come into effect on May 28, said the Department of Environment and Water Resources, DEWR, in a statement.

Historically, due to their fierce appearance and being mistaken for other sharks that pose a danger to humans, large numbers of grey nurse sharks were killed by recreational spear and line fishers and in shark control programs, particularly in southeastern Australia.

The greatest threat to the grey nurse shark is from fishing and accidental hooking, and shark finning. Despite legislation prohibiting their capture, there are now fewer than 500 individuals on the east coast and the population size continues to decrease...  more


May 5, 2007 -- ZNet

Feeding Frenzy: Why is it still acceptable to eat the endangered large predators of the sea?

To Ransom A. Myers, who died on March 27th.

If these animals lived on land there would be a global outcry. But the great beasts roaming the savannahs of the open seas summon no such support. Big sharks, giant tuna, marlin and swordfish should have the conservation status of the giant panda or the snow leopard. Yet still we believe it is acceptable for fishmongers to sell them and celebrity chefs to teach us how to cook them.

A study in this week's edition of Science reveals the disastrous collapse of the ocean's megafauna. The great sharks are now wobbling on the edge of extinction. Since 1972 the number of blacktip sharks has fallen by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks, dusky sharks and smooth hammerheads by 99%(1). Just about every population of major predators is now in freefall. Another paper, published in Nature four years ago, shows that over 90% of large predatory fishes throughout the global oceans have gone(2).

You respond with horror when you hear of Chinese feasts of bear paws and tiger meat. But these are no different, as far as conservation is concerned, from eating shark's fin soup or swordfish or steaks from rare species of tuna. One practice is considered barbaric in Europe and North America. The other is promoted in restaurant reviews and recipes in the colour supplements of respectable newspapers...  more


November 6, 2006 -- Underwater Times - USA

Email Campaign Initiated Against China's 'Irresponsible' Over Shark Fin Marketplace

The Ocean Realm Society will join an email campaign opposing the business practice of the online trader to allow the posting of shark parts for purchase and sale.

According to the company web site, Corporation is China's leading e-commerce company, operating the world's largest online marketplaces for both international and domestic China trade, as well as China's most popular online payment system, AliPay. also owns and operates Yahoo! China, which it acquired in October of 2005.

According to founder Richard H. Stewart, the Ocean Realm Society will enthusiastically support an email write-in campaign initiated by noted underwater photographer Wolfgang Leander, who currently resides in Bolivia. Leander's 'shark-finning' story is featured in the current edition of the Ocean Realm Journal, the society's publication for which he servers as a contributing editor...  more


October 26, 2006 -- Environmental News Network

Study Reveals More Sharks than Estimated Killed for Fin Soup

LONDON -- Up to four times more sharks than previously thought are being slaughtered to fill the increasing demand for shark fin soup, scientists said on Wednesday.

They estimate that each year between 26 million and 73 million sharks, weighing up to 2.29 million tonnes, are killed for their fins which are used in the delicacy that costs $100 a bowl in Chinese restaurants.

Figures reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation put the number at 0.4 to 0.6 million tonnes a year.

"Our findings confirm that a far larger number of sharks are being caught every year than current databases indicate. The fin trade is continuing to expand and thus the pressure on shark populations is constantly increasing," said Dr Shelley Clarke of Imperial College London...  more


September 25, 2006 -- Underwater Times - USA

World Fin Trade Industry Estimated to Harvest 23 to 73 Million Sharks per Year; 'Real Data'

The first real-data study of sharks harvested for their valuable fins estimates as few as 26 million and as many as 73 million sharks are killed each year worldwide-three times higher than was reported originally by the United Nations, according to a paper published as the cover story in the October 2006 edition of Ecology Letters.

"The shark fin trade is notoriously secretive. But we were able tap into fin auction records and convert from fin sizes and weights to whole shark equivalents to get a good handle on the actual numbers," says lead author Shelley Clarke, Ph.D, an American fisheries scientist based in Hong Kong and Japan.

A team of researchers calculated the number of sharks represented in the fin trade using a unique statistical model and data from Hong Kong traders. When the figures were converted to shark weight, the total is three to four times higher than shark catch figures reported to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)...  more


November 18, 2005 -- The News.Telegraph - UK

Shark poachers defy machineguns to seek prey

Machineguns and machetes are being used in a growing conflict between Australia and Indonesian pirate boats poaching sharks for the lucrative Chinese market.

Record prices for shark fin soup have lured more and more poor Indonesian fishermen to Australia's tropical northern waters.

They are making audacious forays along the sparsely populated coast because over-fishing has all but wiped out sharks in other parts of south-east Asia. Up to 25,000 tons of shark were poached in 2003, a government report found...  more


November 3, 2005 -- The Standard - Hong Kong

HKU bans shark fin dishes

Shark fin soup is off the menu at Hong Kong's oldest university.

Shark fin soup is off the menu at Hong Kong's oldest university.

Hong Kong University Tuesday banned serving shark fin dishes, according to a statement issued to staff.

"The university hopes not only to encourage all students, staff and alumni to eschew shark fin dishes at all times but also to give a lead which others in Hong Kong will follow," said the statement signed by university vice chancellor Tsui Lap-chee...  more


October 29, 2005 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia

Illegal shark hunters use hit-and-run tactics

A new Indonesian fleet of more than 400 speedboats is taking thousands of sharks from northern Australian waters, and is behind a recent upsurge in illegal fishing.

An Australian Government study, obtained by the Herald, warns that the so-called Bodi fleet presents a big threat to the marine environment and protected shark species.

The study, compiled by Professor James Fox of the Australian National University, and based on interviews with Indonesian fishermen, i warns that many more of the small, fast boats - designed to avoid capture by Australian authorities - are being produced...  more


October 20, 2005 -- Science Daily - USA

Australia detains 200 Indonesian fishermen

Australia has detained more than 200 Indonesian fishermen caught poaching for shark fins for Chinese-owned companies, The Australian reported Thursday.

The fishermen are being held in a makeshift detention camp at the northwest port of Broome, the report said...  more


June 29, 2005 -- Environment News Service - USA

Shark Finning Banned in Eastern Pacific Ocean

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands, Spain, June 29, 2005 (ENS) - An international ban on shark finning in the Eastern Pacific Ocean was approved by consensus Monday by an intergovernmental fisheries management body meeting in Lanzarote.

Finning, the practice of slicing off a shark's fins and discarding the remainder of the fish - alive or dead - is driven by the lucrative market for shark fin soup and has drawn condemnation from conservationists and members of the public...  more


June 13, 2005 -- The Standard - Hong Kong

Sellers shrug off shark fin brouhaha as just business

In Sai Ying Pun, where the dried seafood and Chinese delicacies business is concentrated, many shark fin sellers do not know the sources of their merchandise.

For these stores, many of which have been around for more than half a century, the importance of maintaining what they call a diminishing business far outweighs that of saving sharks from extinction...  more


May 31, 2005 -- The Standard - Hong Kong

End this 'barbaric and cruel waste'

Marine conservationist Brian Darvell does not mince his words when it comes to the controversial shark's fin business.

"It's a barbaric and completely wasteful trade,'' Darvell said in an interview with The Standard.

He caused an international outcry earlier this month when he sent a letter to Disney's US-based chief executive, Michael Eisner, strongly objecting to the theme park's decision to serve shark's fin soup for wedding banquets when it opens Hong Kong Disneyland in September...  more


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