Globally, the shark population is under extreme stress, primarily due to the rise of China and a growing middle class with a taste for a cultural dish: shark fin soup. Sharks play an important ecologic role and can be extremely beneficial to the local economy. They can also be an important food source for people if harvested sustainably and not in a manner that challenges the morality of humans’ relationship with the ocean; something the current shark finning practices do. Approaches to sustainable shark fishing at the international and domestic level have met some success. Even so, China and Hong Kong have become major markets for shark fins. Because of economic prowess and experience in shark finning regulatory schemes, the U.S. and EU are in a unique position to induce China to draft a similar set of rules and policies through a series of incentives. These rules would look similar to the ones in the U.S. and EU and would ban shark finning, only allowing the landings of fully intact sharks. This strategy could provide much needed relief to global shark populations. While challenges to implement this may arise from Hong Kong, the WTO and Japan, there are still pathways to successful implementation.
From Shark Finning to Shark Fishing: a Strategy for the U.S. & EU to Combat Shark Finning in China & Hong Kong,
27 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/delpf/vol27/iss2/5