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May 9, 2013

Notable Fishermen’s Association Joins HSI/India In Calling for Shark ‘Fins Naturally Attached’ Policy

HSI and ADSGAF officials call on India’s government to take action

Humane Society International/India

  • The practice of shark finning is linked to the decimation of large numbers of shark populations worldwide. Douglas Hoffman / www.douglasjhoffman.com

NEW DELHI—In a letter to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen calls on the government to adopt a ‘fins naturally attached’ policy in support of Humane Society International/India’s campaign to end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.

Shark finning involves the removal of fins from live sharks and subsequent disposal of the animals back into the ocean. The practice is linked to the decimation of large numbers of shark populations worldwide because of demand for shark-fin soup in international markets across Asia, Europe and the United States. This demand has caused unregulated increases in the numbers of sharks being fished and pressure on shark populations in the Indian seas. Fins naturally attached policies stipulate that fishermen cannot land a shark without its fins intact on the body and cannot possess, transfer or land shark fins that are not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass. 

N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India, said: “We are pleased to find common ground and forge solutions with diverse groups such as the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen. The collaboration with this fishing community is a foundation for mutual understanding that will lead to better animal welfare and shark conservation in India. We urge the government to adopt a fins naturally attached policy.”

Shark fishermen in India traditionally make use of all the parts of a shark, including meat, skin, teeth and fins. ADSGAF was formed in 1992 for shark fishermen of Thoothoor in Kanyakumari district. ADSGAF fishermen support the fins naturally attached policy to conserve sharks as a fishery resource and for food security. The group also believes the policy will help safeguard shark species against commercial exploitation.

Dr. Y.S. Yadava, advisor to ADSGAF, said: “Shark finning in India waters is believed to be the work of fishing from foreign vessels and poachers. If the government adopts a fins naturally attached policy, it will help to provide better regulation of fishing in India’s waters and bring about an end to illegal poaching.”

Facts about shark finning:

  • Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year simply to supply the wasteful demand for shark-fin soup. Shark populations cannot sustain current slaughter rates.
  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and our oceans’ ecosystems.
  • Unlike other fish species, sharks produce few pups, and thus, many species are endangered and/or threatened due to the fin trade.
  • The European Union, the United States and many countries within Latin America have adopted fins naturally attached policies. 
  • Conservation and shark experts worldwide agree that the fins naturally attached policy is one of the most effective ways to prevent shark finning.
  • India is the second-largest shark catching country, and one of the largest exporters of shark fins in the world.

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Media Contact: N.G. Jayasimha, +91 9490732614, ngjayasimha@hsi.org

Note to editor: A copy of the letter is available with the media contact, upon request.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

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