Shark Finning Outlawed In Chilean Waters

The Chilean Congress made history as it unanimously approved a bill to ban shark finning in its national waters on Wednesday.

The new law will prohibit the practice of cutting the tips of the shark and throwing the rest of the live animal’s body into the sea, and will levy a $4,000 to $41,000 fine for persons caught mutilating sharks in this way.

According to Christine Reed of Discovery News, “The ban effects 30 shark species that cruise the Chilean coastline, which covers an extensive stretch of the eastern Pacific all the way to the Southern Ocean. Of those sharks, 15 are specific targets for finning, including the near threatened Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) and the vulnerable Shortfin Mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus).”

“With the passage of this law, Chile becomes a leader in the protection of these animals that are so important to marine ecosystems. We knew that large quantities of shark fins were being exported from our country. This practice meant the deaths of thousands of sharks each year. With this new law we will have a critical tool to protect and recover these most exploited species,” said Alex Muñoz, Oceana vice president for South America said in a statement.

Although the bill does not prevent shark fishing altogether, it does protect these marine predators from dissection at sea–a process which inhibits species identification and proper tracking of the number of sharks caught. The ban will also reduce the number of sharks each vessel can catch under current weight restrictions: whole sharks weigh more than just fins.

The Chilean bill was first introduced in January 2011, and although it went through months of debate and editing, environmental advocates were overjoyed to see it pass without a single nay vote.

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Image Credit: Flickr - usfwspacific

138 comments

Jude Hand
Judith Hand3 years ago

Yes!

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

Fantastic news, it seems more places globally are jumping on board this one.

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege4 years ago

Great news!

Andrea A.
Andrea A.4 years ago

Great, thanks.

Mem H.
Mem T.4 years ago

good to hear...small steps towards stopping finning is better than none!

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado4 years ago

Great news!

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Good!

Janine H.
Janine H.4 years ago

This is a very sad story. Other animals has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy averything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim4 years ago

Cutting out their fins and throwing them back in the sea is one of the most cruel ways of torturing the sharks. It's basically letting them sink to the bottom and drown. If they can't swim, they can't breathe. It's suffocating. Poor sharks. I'm so glad they finally decided to ban it before it's too late.

VALERIE Disle
Past Member 4 years ago

That's a good news!