Ban the Fin Trade

Driven largely by the demand for shark fin to make shark fin soup, shark populations are crashing globally. It has been estimated that in 2021 over 80 million sharks were killed, most of them for their fins alone. Although condemned by the United Nations and illegal in 31 countries and the EU, the demand for shark fin is driving the trade of both legal and illegal shark fishing. Although shark finning is the most egregious symptom of shark decline, bycatch, directed fishing and other IUU fishing is impacting shark populations globally.

Driven by the high value of shark fin, overfishing sharks is occurring at an increasing rate. Shark fins are difficult to track back to the source, are commonly mislabeled and are easily hidden and smuggled. Fins from sharks harvested illegally are mixed with fins from legal “sustainable or managed” shark fisheries exacerbating the problem. The flow of illegal shark fins is challenging for enforcement officers and customs officials to detect and interdict. Fins from protected and endangered species like hammerheads and other illegally harvested sharks are also mixed with or labeled as legally harvested sharks make enforcement difficult once fins hit the market. Unreported or mislabeled fins also under-represent shark catch and conflict with fisheries management.

The USA is part of the problem.

The National Marine Fisheries Service Fisheries Statistics and Economics Division indicate that nearly 15,000 tons of shark fins were exported from the US to mainland China in 2014. In February 2020 US Customs agents broke up a Miami ring smuggling shark fins from Mexico and exporting to Asia worth over 1 million dollars. In September 2020, another bust exposed a bi-coastal ring documenting over 12,500 pounds of shark fins exported illegally, as well as millions in cash, diamonds and drugs.

Although the US is a minor part of the global trade, shark fin consumption and exports to Asia exacerbate the problem and add to the overall threat of sharks survival.

Starting in California, Shark Stewards has been a leader in reducing the shark fin trade and raising awareness about the plight of sharks. We believe that consumers need to be educated but that the flow has to stop on the high seas and in the ports. Since 2006 Shark Stewards has led and has supported shark fin trade bans in US States, in the Congress and internationally.

In December 2022, President Joseph Biden signed the US Shark Fin Trade and Sales Elimination Act into law, making domestic sales of shark fin and shark fin products and the export illegal. Shark conservation focus has now evolved from the shark fin trade and shark finning regulations to eliminating bycatch, banning the trade of fins from endangered and threatened species, and reducing overfishing.

Dried shrak fin in baskets ready for sale, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia.

Sign the Petition and Contact Your Congressperson and Senator to SUPPORT the US Shark Fin Trade Ban

Globally shark populations are on the decline. A % of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. Sharks are being overfished and the shark fin trade is threatening large species of sharks such as blue sharks with extinction. For over 12 years Shark Stewards has worked supporting the US Shark Fin Sales Elimination. The bi-partisan companion bill has passed through the House in several Congressional sessions and the Senate. In the Senate, the companion bill has passed through the first committee and has been reported to Senate with amendment(s). Follow the passage here.

US States With Shark Fin Trade Bans

Beginning with Hawaii in 2011, the following states have regulations that ban the sale, trade and possession of a shark fin (with some exceptions).






New York

Rhode Island






New Jersey


US Territories With Shark Fin Bans

American Samoa


Marianas Islands


  • Israel (1980) no shark fishing
  • Congo-Brazzaville (2001) no shark fishing
  • Ecuador (2004) no direct shark fishing in Ecuadorian waters, but sharks caught elsewhere may be landed in Ecuador
  • Egypt (2005) no shark fishing and commercial sale of sharks
  • French Polynesia (2006) no shark fishing, with exception of Mako sharks
  • Mexico (2007) no finning; (2011) no shark fishing from May to August
  • Guinea-Bissau (2008) no shark fishing in marine protected areas
  • Palau (2009) no shark fishing
  • Honduras (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Republic of Maldives (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Marshall Islands (2010 no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Indonesia (2010) no shark fishing in Raja Ampat
  • The Cook Islands (2012) no commercial shark fishing, sale, or trade of shark products
  • The Bahamas (2011) no commercial fishing, sale, or trade in shark products
  • Marshall Islands (2011) no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Tokelau Islands(2011) no shark fishing in territorial waters
  • Sabah, Malaysia (2011) no shark fishing, no possession and sale of fins
  • Brunei (2013) no harvest and importation of shark products
  • Fiji (2013) no shark fishing
  • UK Virgin Islands (2014) no commercial fishing of sharks or rays
  • United Arab Emirates (2014) no shark fishing from February 1 to June 30 and banned all imports and exports of shark products
  • Kiribati (2015) no commercial fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area and Southern Line Islands


There are currently 45 airlines with full blanket bans on transport of shark fins:

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Etihad Airways—the national airline of the United Arab Emirates
  • Air New Zealand
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Korean Airlines
  • Eva Air
  • Aeroméxico
  • LAN Chile/LATAM Airlines Group
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Qatar Airways
  • FinnAir
  • Lufthansa
  • KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines)
  • Air Asia
  • Philippine Airlines (PAL)
  • Emirates
  • Air Seychelles
  • Thai Airways
  • Cebu Pacific
  • Swiss Airways
  • Air France
  • COPA
  • Jet Airways
  • China Airlines of Taiwan
  • American Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines
  • Kenya Airways
  • Iberia
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Dragonair
  • HK Express
  • Air China
  • China Southern Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • China Cargo Airlines
  • China United Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP)

Airlines that have a partial ban on transport of shark fins (sustainable fins only policy):

  • Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific)


  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
  • Evergreen Shipping Line
  • OOCL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Maersk
  • Hamburg Süd
  • Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL)
  • APL
  • Yang Ming
  • NYK Line
  • HMM
  • “K” Line
  • PIL (Pacific International Line)
  • ZIM
  • Wan Hai Lines
  • China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited
  • UPS

Tell Fed-Ex to Stop Carriage of Shark Fins

Shark Steward’s mission is to restore ocean health by saving sharks from overfishing and the shark fin trade, and protecting critical marine habitat through the establishment of marine protected areas and shark sanctuaries. With your help, we can do it!