International Trade in Shark Fins

International Union for Conservation ot Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) (1991)

Over the last few years there has been growing disquiet about the increasing numbers of sharks being fished and traded on domestic and world markets. A major buyer quoted in the New York Times (1989) said "The shark is the most utilised species of fish there is. You can sell its smile, its skin, its meat, its liver, its fins. It's a wonderful and awesome species". Ihe following account relates concerns arising from a reported upsurge in demand for shark products, but probably presents an over-simplification of the overall world situation, as it is based mainly on reports from the USA. A general difficulty was encountered in locating references which portray experiences in other parts of the world. There seemed to be conflicting observations in some of the literature reviewed, caused perhaps by regional differences in the abundance of sharks and in the markets for shark products. Due to these factors, it is difficult to gauge the present consensus of opinion on the shark's current global status