Though much of the demand for shark fins comes from Asian countries, where it is used in soups to celebrate weddings, banquets and important business deals, the pipeline for supplying the product is global in its reach – and includes fisherman catching and finning sharks in US waters.
Two recent arrests in Louisiana highlight the need for stronger regulations, enforcement and penalties to ensure that shark populations within federal waters are protected from this highly destructive practice, which is pushing certain shark species to the brink of extinction. In separate incidents in February and April, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division cited or arrested five commercial fisherman for exceeding the daily shark limits allowed under LA law and for finning the sharks in their possession. In the case of the arrests, law enforcement officials found “a hidden compartment in the bow of the vessel that contained 12 large sacks of shark fins totaling 2,073 fins”. The bodies of the sharks were not on board the boat, which is consistent with the practice of finning – cutting the fins off live sharks and dumping the body overboard, leaving the shark to endure a slow death from drowning.
Hats off to the LDWF for their proactive efforts to catch shark poachers. You can show your support by signing our pledge to denounce shark finning and any businesses that profit from the trade.