To the happiness of local shark conservation groups, the British government today signaled the end of the UK’s involvement in the global shark fin trade.
The new legislation will require all imported and exported shark fins to remain attached to the shark carcass and only traded as a whole commodity.
The news was cheered by Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation and its supporters, including wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who both endorsed the charity’s “No Fin To Declare” campaign, calling for a post-Brexit ban of the personal import allowance of shark fins to the UK.
SHARK FIN WIN — Bite-Back’s HQ erupted in celebratory cheers as official news came in this morning that the government…
According to Bite-Back, before Britain left the EU it had been bound by outdated legislation that permitted anyone to carry up to 20kg/44 pounds of dried shark fins into and across European borders as part of their personal import allowance. Bite-Back says this loophole has been exploited by the shark fin trade to legally “smuggle” fins undetected for decades.
Graham Buckingham, campaign director at Bite-Back, said:
“This news puts the UK at the forefront of shark conservation and represents a further blow to a global industry that is forcing sharks closer to the brink of extinction. We applaud the government for using Brexit to side-step this archaic EU legislation and instead lead the world in the conservation of sharks and the oceans. We hope and believe this announcement will encourage other European countries to impose similar constraints.”
It’s estimated that global fishing fleets hunt and kill 73 million sharks every year. As a result one in four shark species are now either endangered or threatened forcing populations of iconic shark species including great whites, hammerheads, oceanic whitetips, and threshers to a tiny fraction of those recorded 50 years ago.