ScienceDaily (Mar. 2, 2012) — Shark fins are worth more than other parts of the shark and are often removed from the body, which gets thrown back into the sea. To curtail this wasteful practice, many countries allow the fins to be landed detached from shark bodies, as long as their weight does not exceed five per cent of the total shark catch. New University of British Columbia research shows that this kind of legislation is too liberal.
A study published this week in the journal Fish Biology analyzes the fin to body weight ratios for 50 different shark species. The authors find the average fin to body mass is three per cent — considerably lower than the five per cent ratio currently legislated by the EU and other countries.
“The five percent ratio provides an opportunity to harvest extra fins from more sharks without retaining 100 per cent of the corresponding shark carcasses,” says Sea Around Us Project researcher Leah Biery, lead author of the study. “It does not prevent waste or overfishing, as the law intended.”