India Bans Shark Finning

India has today announced a ban on finning sharks at sea. This will mean that all sharks must be landed with their fins attached. A statement from the Environment Ministry said “The policy prescribes that any possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body of the shark would amount to “hunting” of a schedule I species… Sharks, Rays and Skates (Elasmobranchs) are an important part of the marine ecosystem. They play an important the role in maintenance of the marine ecosystem like tigers and leopards in the forests.”

The ban on finning sharks will allow the ministry to more effectively monitor exactly how many sharks, and of what species, are being caught. The new policy also calls upon state governments to legislate to prevent the hunting of shark species protected under the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972, and to effectively enforce laws.

As India is the second largest catcher of sharks in the world (according to self-reported data published by the UN) it is hoped that this ban on shark finning will mark a turning point for shark conservation in the region.


  1. I would think that this is at least a step in the right direction, right? I mean, I wish they would ban it altogether but that may be overly ambitious of me. I hope other Countries follow suit. What is being done to the oceans is deplorable.
    I saw a glimpse of footage of a shark being finned alive on a program during shark week and I had to look away. It made me cry for that shark, and all other sharks that have had this done to them. It is absolutely barbaric.

    • This legislation bans shark finningthe removal of fins from sharks that are still alive and dumping their bodies into the sea. Shark finning is bad because of a) concerns about cruelty and animal welfare b) it means vessels can kill more sharks as they only have to transport the fins and not the shark carcasses c) it is difficult for the authorities to identify the number and species of sharks killed because they only have the fins. The legislation is not a ban on killing sharks, but yes, it is a very meaningful step forward.

  2. alan elkan says:

    a small step forward provided the ban is monitored. Will it be?

    • David thomas says:

      This group have helped me understand the current situation so much. I am guilty of blaming (to the point of hating) an entire nation..rhino horn, tiger bits, etc.. It seems that the change is coming from within now which gives me hope

      • Don’t hate the nation. There are many people working in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and many other countries to stop shark finning, and who also care about animal welfare and conservation. We need to support these activists as much as we can. Also, no country is blameless on this issue. The consumption of shark fin soup is mainly in China but many other countries supply the fins.

  3. That is wonderful news!! It doesn’t solve the entire problem – but it is a big step in the right direction for the sharks and for the oceans. I love sharks – I love all animals – and hope that some day the world will be a safe place for all of them. I too saw the act of finning during shark week and couldn’t believe how barbaric the act is and how after they are done cutting of all the fins, if the shark doesn’t slide off the boat back into the ocean, then a person just kicks the shark back into the ocean. It’s a horrible, horrible act against innocent sharks. Thank you for all the positive things happening from the Stop Shark Finning website.

  4. Paul Canny says:

    Well done India as a nation. The more proactive countries become puts more pressure on the rest.

  5. M Shoemaker says:

    That is amazing news. For people saying it isn’t enough, you’re right, but lets rejoice in this small victory. India is making a step forward and we should congratulate them on that not tell them it isnt enough. This is really good news.

    • I agree with you – it is amazing news! Every step to helping the sharks and the oceans is wonderful!! The problem won’t be solved overnight – but now, thanks to India, we are a step closer!!

  6. This is a great start. The first positive news I’ve seen on shark finning for a while.

    I mean Singapore can ban chewing gum but does nothing about shark finning. Crazy. You can see where the priorities lie.

    Well done India. One of many countries I hope.

  7. We sincerely appreciate the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for are issuing a ban order for “FINNING” F.No.4-36/2013 WL dated 21-08-2013. Cutting the fins from sharks and throwing the carcass into the ocean is a cruel practice. It leads to terrific imbalance in the ecosystem and can also be viewed as a wasting of resources

    It is the duty and responsibility of fishermen to protect the marine resources that is the only source of their livelihood. That is one of the reasons why we have joined with Humane Society International; India with the demand of implementing a fin attached policy though there is no fining practice in India since 2005

    While going through the policy circular mentioned above we find there are some points which are not clear. For example the fining ban is only the species included in the schedule –I under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972?

    It is also not mentioned clearly about the implementing of the Act either by Wildlife Authorities or by the concerned State Fisheries Department Authorities or the both? Is there any roll for marine police or the civil police?
    We think there will be some technical issues coupled with social issues may arise in implementing and monitoring of this ban.

    Kindly recall the problem created by the Coast Guard with the fishermen during the year 2001 because of the ban on shark and other 60 species and the subsequent ban on shark fishing by Government of Karnataka where problem created by local people of Karnataka and the Karnataka Police .

    We are afraid that if the monitoring and implementing officers are not well versed with the present ban and its contents which may pave the way to unnecessary complication and problems in the sector. Also the fishermen are also need to know the present act and its contents to get along with the monitoring and implementing officers.

    In this regards we request you to give necessary directions to the authorities concerned to avoid such kind of problems.

    We also request you to organise need based awareness programmes to the fishermen as well as to the filed level monitoring and implementing officers.

    It will be much appreciable if you could organize district level, state level discussions and consultations with stake holders. It may help to form a community involved monitoring group which also help for the smooth implementing of the act.

    Our organization is happy to involve, participate/attend and organize various kinds of activities for the smooth implementation of the act.

    Since this is matter of fishing and fishermen its better to consult the stake holders so it can be done thoroughly under supervision of stake holders..!

Make your voice count, leave a comment.