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No Fin to Declare

  • Friday 7th August 2015


SEA LIFE London is proud to support our charity partner Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation in their exciting new campaign - No Fin to declare!

The EU has banned the practice of shark finning in its waters, but did you know that EU law still allows individuals travelling to Europe to carry 20kg of dried shark fins?

Only 250g of tobacco or 2kg of fruit and vegetables can be important legally; sausages and cheese cannot be imported at all; but the fins of endangered shark species are allowed. 20kg represents over 700 bowls of shark fin soup and more importantly over 25 dead sharks!

Investigations by Bite-Back suggest that shark fins arrive in the UK via this loophole but are then sold on the black market to the restaurant trade for around £175 per kilo. That’s around £3500 per suitcase!

So Bite-Back is working to collect over 150,000 signatures on a petition calling for an end to the 20kg personal import allowance of shark fins. If you haven't already we urge you to add your name to the petition to help protect sharks around the world - SIGN HERE

Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: ‘This outdated and careless piece of legislation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. No other food item on the personal import allowance list compares in terms of volume and value. It’s outrageous to think that Customs officials will seize and destroy a ham and cheese sandwich yet they’ll wave through someone with 20kg of shark fins. The limit is wrong, it’s open to abuse and, if sharks stand a chance of survival, it needs to be banned.’

Our Conservation & Education Manager, Rebecca Carter, said: ‘Sharks are not just beautiful, fascinating creatures, they are also vital to the health of our oceans. We are very proud to support this important campaign through our sponsorship of Bite-Back and by offering each of our guests the chance to sign the ‘No Fin to Declare’ petition during their visit to the London Aquarium.’

More information about shark finning

1. Shark fin is made of tasteless cartilage. Chicken or pork are added to the soup to give it taste, but the fin is valued for its texture.

2. Shark Fin Soup can still be bought in many restaurants throughout the UK. Bite-Back's mission is to make the UK shark fin free!

3. Sharks are known to be very resilient to disease so many people believe eating shark-fin will make them immune. Sadly the opposite may be true as shark meat can contain dangerously high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals. Sharks are not immune themselves, though rare, they do get diseases like cancer.

What is Shark Finning and why should we care?

  • Many shark species around the world are in dramatic decline due to over fishing for their fins. Over the last few decades shark fins have become extremely valuable for their use in shark-fin soup and are worth much more than shark meat so the practice of shark finning has become widespread; that is cutting the fins off sharks at sea, often whilst they are still alive, and throwing the rest of their body back into the ocean.
  • Finning is an extremely stressful and painful death for sharks which quickly drown without their fins. It is also very wasteful, and when fishing boats are only collecting shark fins and not entire carcasses, they have room on board to kill a lot of sharks on every trip.
  • Sharks are long-lived, slow-growing and slow to reproduce, meaning they cannot withstand this excessive commercial fishing pressure. They are simply not able to produce young quickly enough to make up for all the sharks being caught. As a result, they are in big trouble.
  • The International Union of Conservation of Natures (IUCN) declare that 25% of all shark species are now threatened with extinction, predominantly due to the shark finning industry. So this practice is not only extremely cruel but is also unsustainable.

Sharks are beautiful, fascinating and often mysterious creatures. If they go extinct it will be a devastating loss to our oceans. Sharks play so many important roles in the ocean’s intricate food-webs and ecosystems that the impact of losing them is incalculable.

What we can safely say is that the knock on effects would be huge and traumatic and that continuing to fish them at the rate we currently are is a risk that we can’t afford to take.

Please sign the petition now!