You've got to wonder what sort of barbaric backwater you're living in when Taiwan overtakes your country in its efforts to crack down on shark finning.

The last few of weeks have brought some great news for the world's sharks. Fiji's Ministry of Fisheries has announced it is drafting legislation, which it hopes will be adopted by the end of the year, banning all trade in shark meat. Fiji, known for its world class shark diving, will join Palau as a champion for sharks in the Pacific. French Polynesia, American Samoa and Australia also have legislation banning shark finning, and Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands both banned finning earlier this year.

Shark finning is already banned in the eastern Pacific Ocean by the fisheries management organisation IATCC and last week Chile joined the United States, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Canada in developing national legislation against shark finning to complement the IATCC ban. Honduras has teamed up with Palau to call for all countries to ban shark finning. Last week Bahamas banned all shark fishing in its waters as well as trade in shark meat.

Further afield in the Atlantic, the organisation responsible for managing Atlantic bluefin tuna (ICCAT) - while not blessed with much of a reputation for fisheries management - has at least put in place measures to combat shark finning, as has the European Union. Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Namibia also ban shark finning.

This is by no means a complete list of countries with shark finning bans. Not all of those bans are perfect, and some have loopholes that need to be tightened to better protect these top predators. Yet conspicuously missing from the list is New Zealand.

In New Zealand, it's perfectly legal to catch sharks, kill them, hack off their fins and dump their mutilated bodies overboard. The Ministry of Fisheries seems to think it has done enough just by setting quotas for how many sharks may be dispatched in this manner (the TACC for blue sharks alone is 1,860 tonnes!) and pointing out that you have to kill the shark before cutting off its fins or else you could face prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act – though live finning has been exposed in New Zealand in recent years.

Shark finning remains rife in New Zealand, a situation that can only be described as inexcusable when the list of countries banning shark finning has grown to include many of our small island neighbours and even Taiwan.

For shame, New Zealand.