Taipei, Oct. 20 (CNA) Taiwan will impose a ban next year on shark finning, the practice of removing the fins from sharks and throwing the bodies back into the sea, the Fisheries Agency said Thursday.
Taiwan will be the first Asian country to introduce the regulation that will require fishermen to unload the shark fins and bodies simultaneously, said Tsay Tzu-yaw, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Agency.
Violators could face heavy fines or suspension of their fishing licenses, he said.
The new regulation is currently being implemented on a trial basis at several ports in Taiwan, Tsay said. Shark fin is a delicacy in local cuisine.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Pew Environment Group released photos and videos on its website of shark fishing in Taiwan. The group listed Taiwan as one of the countries that overfish sharks and called for action to protect depleted shark species.
Pew said Taiwan has the fourth-largest shark catches in the world after Indonesia, India and Spain. The four countries accounted for more than 35 percent of the total shark catches in the world, it said.
Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year to satisfy the demand in shark fin trade, said Pew, adding that 30 percent of the shark populations around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction.
(By Christie Chen)