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August 8, 2013

India’s Animal Welfare Board Encourages Shark Protection Policy

Coastal state fishermen should land sharks ‘fins naturally attached’

Humane Society International/India

  • According to the AWBI advisory, the act of finning is a violation and punishable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. Douglas Hoffman / www.douglasjhoffman.com

NEW DELHI—The Animal Welfare Board of India, in recognizing the problem of cruel shark finning, has issued an advisory to all Indian coastal states fisheries to help end this practice by having fishermen land sharks with their fins naturally attached. Shark finning is driven by the shark fin trade, in which fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw the still-living animals back into the water, where they die slow and painful deaths. 

In the advisory, Uma Rani, secretary for AWBI, explains that since shark finning involves mutilation of an animal, she believes that the act of finning is a violation and punishable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. AWBI is a statutory body under India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests concerned with raising awareness about the inhumane treatment of animals as well as protecting animals from unnecessary pain and suffering.

Ask India to prohibit shark finning.

In light of the advisory, Humane Society International/India, in collaboration with the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen, renewed an appeal to the MoEF to consider adopting a shark fins naturally attached policy.

C. Samyukta, HSI India campaign manager for wildlife, said: “We applaud Animal Welfare Board of India for taking this step towards creating greater accountability for the care and protection of shark populations amongst all Indian coastal states’ fisheries departments. As this week marks International Shark Week, AWBI chose a key time to draw the attention of authorities to this pertinent shark conservation tool. We hope that the Central Government shall also follow in the footsteps of AWBI and bring into force a shark fins naturally attached policy.”


  • India is the second-largest shark-catching nation in the world, according to a study by the European Commission. Indian fishermen target and catch sharks primarily for their meat; however, they do export fins from sharks they catch. Additionally, fishermen on foreign vessels in or just outside of Indian waters engage in the cruel practice of shark finning.
  • The fins from tens of millions of sharks are used to supply worldwide demand for shark fins and fin products each year.
  • Unlike other fish species, sharks produce few pups, and thus, many species are endangered and/or threatened due to the fin trade.


Media Contact: C. Samyukta, +91-9000846677, csamyukta@hsi.org

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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