From: George Thande, Reuters
Published February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Seychelles Bans Cutting Sharks' Fins

VICTORIA — The Seychelles has banned the cutting off of sharks' fins by foreign fishermen to curb a flourishing global trade that is threatening the survival of the sea predator and marine ecosystems.


The United Nations estimates that 100 million sharks are killed every year world-wide, mostly for their fins which are a delicacy in East Asia where a bowl of shark fin soup can command high prices.


Dozens of countries have banned the practice of slicing off of sharks' fins in the last few years.


The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) ban took effect this week and covers all foreign vessels fishing in the territorial waters of the Indian Ocean archipelago.


The ban does not include domestic vessels, which the government says are few and controlled, or shark fishing where the whole shark is caught.


WASTEFUL AND CRUEL


"Shark finning is the wasteful and cruel practice of slicing off the highly valuable fins, often from living sharks, and dumping the rest of the creatures back into the sea to face a slow and certain death," SFA said in a statement.


"Shark finning ... threatens ... the stability of marine ecosystems, sustainable traditional fisheries, food security, dive and eco-tourism," SFA said.


The World Conservation Union says 65 out of 373 known shark species are globally threatened, largely owing to the shark finning trade. Some experts think the number is higher.


Fins from Hammerhead, Mako and Blue Sharks command the highest prices while cheaper shark fins are usually taken from smaller species.


Source: Reuters


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