Closed petition UK Government to ban the import of shark fins into the UK.

73 million sharks killed every year for shark fin soup, sharks are thrown back to the sea where they will die after having their fins brutally cut from their bodies.
Loopholes are allowing people to continue smuggling fins in to the U.K despite a ban put in place in over 27 countries in 2013.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 July 2019

The UK Government is strongly opposed to shark finning, and we support stronger international controls. Whilst in the EU, it is not possible to unilaterally ban the import of shark fins into the UK.

While we are a member of the EU, it is not possible to introduce additional restrictions on the import of shark fins. Leaving the EU will present us with the opportunity to take further action on this issue and consider whether the UK can go further in controlling the quantity of dried shark fins permitted for personal consumption, consistent with our WTO obligations.

The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation. The UK Government is strongly opposed to shark finning, the practice of removing the fins of a shark and discarding the body at sea. We recognise that the demand for shark fins can be a significant driving force behind the capture of sharks and can fuel unsustainable practices.

We successfully led the charge to ban shark finning across the European Union. We recognise that the demand for shark fins can be a significant driving force behind the capture of sharks and can fuel unsustainable practices. This is why the UK continues to press for stronger international controls within the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the associated Sharks Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (MoU).

Additional controls are in place for certain species of sharks under CITES. These can prohibit the trade in particular species or require trade to be carefully regulated, including through additional assessments of sustainability. Since 2003, 20 species of sharks and rays have been listed under CITES. At this year’s meeting, due to take place in August, the EU is co-sponsoring listing proposals for short-fin and long-fin mako sharks; all species in the giant guitarfish family; and all species in the wedgefish family. This will help to put in place stronger control measures and strengthen international protection for these species.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.