International Shark Finning Bans and Policies

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Some countries/jurisdictions have enacted full or partial bans on the practice of shark finning—slicing off the fins of the shark at sea (often while the shark is still alive) and discarding the carcass. Still other country/jurisdictions have taken the additional step of enacting complete or partial bans on shark fishing (such that, by inclusion, shark finning is also banned). Some airlines, hotels, and other companies have also refused to transport, serve or sell shark fin products. Information on which jurisdictions and companies have (or in some cases, have not) taken steps to ban shark finning/fishing are listed below.

Countries/jurisdictions with full or partial bans on shark finning

  • Canada/British Columbia (1994–2012) finning bans implemented in various cities throughout Canada and British Columbia
  • Oman (1998) sharks must be landed, transported, sold or disposed of whole
  • South Africa (1998) sharks must be landed, transported, sold or disposed of whole
  • New South Wales, Australia (1999) no finning in NSW coastal waters; sharks may not be taken on board any vessel without fins naturally attached
  • United Arab Emirates (1999) sharks must be landed whole
  • Spain (2002) no fins on board without the corresponding carcasses
  • Namibia (2003) no finning
  • Gambia (2004) no finning in territorial waters
  • Nicaragua (2004) no fin exports without proof that the meat was sold
  • Costa Rica (2006) former “fins attached” requirement reinstated (cancelling a 2003 policy that allowed sharks to be landed without their fins)
  • Seychelles (2006) no removal of fins on board vessel unless granted authorization
  • El Salvador (2009) no finning in territorial waters
  • Panama (2006) no finning in territorial waters
  • Colombia (2007) sharks must be landed with fins naturally attached to their bodies
  • Sierra Leone (2008) no finning
  • Argentina (2009) may not retain fins and discard carcasses
  • Guinea (2009) no finning in territorial waters
  • United Kingdom (2009) no removal of shark fins at sea by any UK vessel worldwide
  • Honduras (2010) no finning
  • Chile (2011) sharks must be landed with fins naturally attached to their bodies
  • Taiwan (2012) all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached
  • Brazil (2012) sharks be landed with fins naturally attached to their bodies
  • Venezuela (2012) sharks be landed with fins naturally attached to their bodies
  • The Republic of Malta (2012) sharks must be landed whole
  • European Union (2013) no finning by any vessel in EU waters or by any EU-registered vessel worldwide
  • Hong Kong (2013) no shark fin soup at government functions
  • India (2013) sharks must be landed with fins attached to their bodies
  • China (2013) no shark fin dishes at official government functions
  • British Virgin Islands (2014) no sale, possession, or distribution of shark fin products
  • New Zealand (2014) no finning in territorial waters

This list was comprised in conjunction with WildLifeRisk, and with the help of resources from the Humane Society International.

Countries/jurisdictions with full or partial bans on shark fishing (such that shark finning is also banned)

  • Israel (1980) no shark fishing
  • Congo-Brazzaville (2001) no shark fishing
  • Ecuador (2004) no direct shark fishing in Ecuadorian waters, but sharks caught elsewhere may be landed in Ecuador
  • Egypt (2005) no shark fishing and commercial sale of sharks
  • French Polynesia (2006) no shark fishing, with exception of Mako sharks
  • Mexico (2007) no finning; (2011) no shark fishing from May to August
  • Guinea-Bissau (2008) no shark fishing in marine protected areas
  • Palau (2009) no shark fishing
  • Honduras (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Republic of Maldives (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Marshall Islands (2010 no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Indonesia (2010) no shark fishing in Raja Ampat
  • The Cook Islands (2012) no commercial shark fishing, sale, or trade of shark products
  • The Bahamas (2011) no commercial fishing, sale, or trade in shark products
  • Marshall Islands (2011) no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Tokelau Islands(2011) no shark fishing in territorial waters
  • Sabah, Malaysia (2011) no shark fishing, no possession and sale of fins
  • Brunei (2013) no harvest and importation of shark products
  • Fiji (2013) no shark fishing
  • UK Virgin Islands (2014) no commercial fishing of sharks or rays
  • United Arab Emirates (2014) no shark fishing from February 1 to June 30 and banned all imports and exports of shark products
  • Kiribati (2015) no commercial fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area and Southern Line Islands

This list was comprised with the help of resources from the Humane Society International.

Companies that have banned shark fin soup

  • Hong Kong Disneyland (2005)
  • Amazon (2007)
  • Carrefour, NTUC Fairprice, Cold Storage—three major supermarket chains in Singapore (2011)
  • Peninsula Hotels Group (owned by Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd.) (2011)
  • Shangri-la Hotel chain (2012)
  • Westin Macau (2012)
  • Fairmont Hotels Group (2012)
  • 23 luxury hotels in Thailand—as part of the “Fin Free Thailand” program (2013); several US-owned hotels participate in this program, including Four Seasons (Bangkok, Tented Camp, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui), and  the JW Marriott (Phuket)
  • Starwood Hotels and Resorts (includes Westin USA, Sheraton, Le Meridien, and Four Points) (2014)
  • Marriott Hotel Group (2014)
  • Hilton Hotels (2014)
  • Melia Hotels—Spain’s biggest hotel chain (2014)
  • Labau Hotels in Thailand (2014)

Major hotels that continue to serve shark fin soup include

  • Ritz Carlton-Hong Kong
  • Nikko hotels throughout Asia (headquartered in Japan)
  • Regal Hotels in Hong Kong
  • Prince Hotels and Resorts in Japan
  • InterContinental Group, a UK-based company

This list was comprised in conjunction with WildLifeRisk.

Airlines that have banned shark fins

There are currently 30 airlines with full blanket bans on transport of shark fins:

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways (2011)
  • Etihad Airways—the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (2013)
  • Air New Zealand (2013)
  • Asiana Airlines (2013)
  • Quantas (2013)
  • Korean Airlines (2013)
  • Eva Air (2013)
  • Aeroméxico (2013)
  • LAN Chile/LATAM Airlines Group (2013)
  • Garuda Indonesia (2013)
  • Qatar Airways (2013)
  • FinnAir (2013)
  • Lufthansa (2013)
  • KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) (2013)
  • Air Asia (2014)
  • Philippine Airlines (PAL) (2014)
  • Emirates (2014)
  • Air Seychelles (2014)
  • Singapore Airlines (2014)
  • Thai Airways (2014)
  • Cebu Pacific (2014)
  • Swiss Airways (2014)
  • Air France (2014)
  • COPA (2014)
  • Jet Airways (2014)
  • China Airlines of Taiwan (2014)
  • American Airlines (2015)
  • Sri Lankan Airlines (2015)
  • Kenya Airways (2016)
  • Iberia (2016)
  • British Airways (2016)
  • Cathay Pacific Airways (2016)
  • Dragonair (2016)
  • HK Express (2016)
  • Air China (2017)
  • China Southern Airlines (2017)
  • China Eastern Airlines (2017)
  • Shanghai Airlines (2017)
  • China Cargo Airlines (2017)
  • China United Airlines (2017)

There are two airlines that have a partial ban on transport of shark fins (sustainable fins only policy):

  • Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific) (June 2013). 

This list was comprised in conjunction with WildLifeRisk.

Airlines that continue to transport shark fin

  • AerolíneasArgentina
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • All Nippon Airlines (ANA)
  • China Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Gol, Iberia
  • Iran Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Lion Air
  • Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)
  • South African Airlines
  • Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP)
  • United Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines

Shipping companies that have banned shark fin cargo

  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
  • Evergreen Shipping Line
  • OOCL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Maersk
  • Hamburg Süd
  • Hanjin Shipping
  • Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL)
  • APL
  • Yang Ming
  • NYK Line
  • UASC
  • HMM
  • “K” Line
  • PIL (Pacific International Line)
  • ZIM
  • Wan Hai Lines

This list was comprised in conjunction with WildLifeRisk.