Shark finning in New Zealand

Shark finning is happening in New Zealand waters right now.

It’s still legal to kill sharks, slice off their fins and dump their bodies back into the sea.

 

That’s just plain wrong. It’s a senseless waste and around the world shark finning is threatening the survival of entire shark species.

Shark finning has been banned by almost 100 countries and states. A ban means sharks can’t be killed just for their fins. Instead the whole shark has to be used or returned to the sea.

You can help make that the law here, too. Sign the Shark Pledge now.

Here’s some frequently asked questions:

Frequently Asked Questions  
  • What is shark finning?

    Shark finning is the practice of catching and a shark, cutting off its fins and dumping the body at sea. In New Zealand it is currently legal to do this, provided the shark is killed before it is finned and its body dumped.

  • So are shark fins just a by-product?

    No. For migratory shark species caught in tuna fisheries, the fins are the high-value part of the shark which is why they are often the only part kept by fishers. However, many of those sharks could instead be released alive from fishing gear.

  • Why should we stop shark finning?

    Shark finning is a senseless waste. Globally, it is contributing to serious population declines in many species of sharks. The loss of top predators is affecting the balance of life in our oceans and damaging the marine ecosystem.

  • Is shark finning legal in other countries?

    It has been banned in almost 100 countries and states including Australia, the United States and the EU. Many Pacific countries are going even further. The tiny Pacific Island country of Palau led the world in 2009 by declaring its entire EEZ a shark sanctuary, where no fishing or finning of sharks is allowed.

  • What’s so special about shark fins?

    Some people believe shark fins have special medicinal properties. Others prize fins as the main ingredient of the cultural delicacy shark fin soup. Shark fins can fetch exorbitant prices overseas, up to US$1000 per kilogram, which encourages fishers to hunt and kill sharks exclusively for their fins and dump the body at sea.

  • How big is the global demand for shark fins?

    Globally, around 100 million sharks are killed every year – that’s about 270,000 a day. The global demand for shark fins is a major contributing factor to that catch.

  • How big are NZ shark fin exports?

    New Zealand is among the world's top 10 nations for killing and exporting sharks and a major exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong. Recently we have also become the biggest exporter of dried shark fins to the United States.

  • What are the main species of shark being caught for their fins in NZ waters?

    Blue, porbeagle & shortfin mako are the most common sharks finned in New Zealand. All are caught primarily as bycatch in the tuna longline fisheries. All three are on the international red list of threatened species.

  • What’s Greenpeace doing?

    Greenpeace is part of the New Zealand Shark Alliance (NZSA, a group of organisations and scientists working together to ban shark finning in our waters and protect our sharks.

  • What can I do?

    Let the Government know that you want shark finning banned in NZ waters by signing the Shark Pledge and we’ll let you know when and how to send a submission to the Government when it reviews our shark fishing laws.

  • How many sharks are killed, finned and dumped in NZ waters?

    Government statistics don't reveal a total but they do show some New Zealand fisheries, like the tuna longline fishery, treat most of the sharks they catch in this way. Most blue sharks caught by longline fishing vessels are brought onto the ship alive, 72% are killed for their fins alone, then dumped back in the sea while the rest are released. Around half of the porbeagle sharks caught are released, 40% are finned and dumped and 10% are processed for their meat and fins.

  • Is shark finning happening on New Zealand fishing boats?

    Yes, most of the vessels in the tuna longline fishery (where much of New Zealand's shark finning takes place) are Kiwi vessels. There are also a limited number of Japanese vessels, chartered by a local company in which Sanford, Talley's and the owner of Solander all have a stake.