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Last Update:2014-12-19

Shark’s Fins Naturally Attached to Bodies, Sustainablity of Shark Resources

In order to conserve and sustainably utilize shark resources, on 19 January 2012, the Council of Agriculture proclaimed the Directions on the Disposal of the Fins of the Shark Catches of Fishing Vessels (known as regulation on “Shark’s Fins Naturally Attached to Bodies”). The measure was to be implemented progressively from coastal fisheries and extending to distant water fisheries, from large-scale vessels to small-scale fisheries.

The prevailing measures taken by international fisheries management bodies on the conservation and management of shark resources include prohibition on catching of shark species with low abundance, and the application of the ratio of fins to shark carcass of not over 5% at time of landing of shark catches. Nevertheless, under the measure of 5% fin ratio, the practice of shark finning still exists and the use of shark resources is not sustainable. To ensure sustainable utilization of shark resources, the government considered the need to promote the measure of “shark’s fins naturally attached to bodies”. Under this regulation, fishing vessels are classified into 3 categories, namely, fishing vessels using ice to preserve shark catches; fishing vessels over 100 GRT using refrigeration to preserve shark catches; and fishing vessels under 100 GRT using refrigeration to preserve shark catches. The measure was to be implemented in accordance with the fishing conditions of these categories of vessels, with buffer time for stronger advocacy. Administrative penalty was not to be imposed until 1 April 2012. At the outset, fine was imposed on violators, and following up with more stringent sanctions, such as suspension of fishing license.  

Sharks are important fisheries resources. In Taiwan, shark’s meat is prepared into  various delicacies such as smoked shark’s meat, fish balls and fillets, forming part of Taiwan’s traditional dietary culture. The government’s decision to implement the measure of “Shark’s fins naturally attached to bodies” earlier than the measure taken by international fisheries management organizations was also to ensure the heritage of Taiwan’s traditional dietary culture, apart from its strenuous efforts to conserve and manage shark resources as a member of the international community.

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