Shark fin trade to be banned in the UK

16 August 2021 by
Shark fin trade to be banned in the UK

The UK government is to introduce new laws to crack down on the "indescribably cruel" shark fin trade.

Importing and exporting detached fins and products such as tinned shark fin soup will be made illegal as part of a conservation drive.

Shark finning is the practice of removing a shark's fin at sea then discarding the body in the water. As the animal is unable to swim it either suffocates, dies of blood loss or is eaten by other predators.

The practice has been banned in the UK for 20 years, but trade of the fins, largely for use in shark fin soup, has been legal under EU law.

Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: "Our action will not only help boost shark numbers, it will send a clear message that we do not support an industry that is forcing many species to the brink of extinction."

The government is considering a range of animal welfare measures, including a possible ban on foie gras imports.

The House of Lords has also put forward amendments to a planned Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill that could see restaurants and fishmongers banned from boiling crabs and lobsters alive.

Photo: WhiteJack/

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