Enhancing Regulation of the Shark Fin Trade
Hong Kong is responsible for approximately 50% of the worlds shark fin imports, annually importing about 5,000 tonnes. Despite there being over 400 shark species many of which are threatened according the IUCN Red List, only 14 shark species are regulated in trade. This relies on the implementation of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which in turn relies on enforcement authorities’ ability to differentiate fins of regulated (listed) species from unregulated.
Only fins larger than 10 cm at the base are visually distinguishable with a high degree of confidence, and therefore, large fins are the only shark products that are commonly reported/declared by species and get routinely examined by Customs authorities worldwide. Available estimates of globally traded shark fin volumes have been based on auction records of large fins. However, containers of dried-unprocessed fins holding large numbers of sacks with tens of thousands of small fins (some of which will be juvenile fins of regulated species) (<10 cm at the base) that are rarely reported/declared by species, and for which virtually no species-specific trade data exist.
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Programme: Wildlife Trade in Hong Kong