Recently Bite-Back Shark and Marine Conservation launched a campaign to end the personal importation of shark fins to Europe. The charity’s No Fin To Declare campaign is challenging the EU law that allows individuals travelling to Europe to carry 20kg of dried shark fins—enough to make 705 bowls of shark fin soup.
The personal import legislation is best known as the law that stops passengers on long-haul flights from bringing dried meats, dairy products or more than one litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes to the UK.
Investigations by the charity suggest that shark fins arriving in the UK via this loophole are then sold on the black market to the restaurant trade for around £175 per kilo, or roughly £3,500 per suitcase.
Shark fins are one of the most expensive fish products in the world and their high value is the biggest incentive for 125 nations to fish for sharks. Since the fins are worth more than the meat, many sharks suffer the cruel practice of ‘finning’ at sea when the dorsal and pectoral fins are hacked off and the body thrown back in to the sea, still alive.
Relentless fishing for sharks recently prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature declare that 25% of all shark species are now threatened with extinction.