Pacific Shark Alliances Urges No Shark Finning in NZ During America’s Cup

UPDATE  October 2014, The New Zealand Government announced they will close the loopholes and stop landings of all sharks with fins detached, saving thousand sof Blue sharks!

July 1, 2014

Shark Stewards has been working in San Francisco with New Zealand sailors and Air Emirates during the America’s Cup  to support a no shark finning policy in New Zealand.  The New Zealand Shark Alliance is promoting better shark fishing regulations to require fishermen to release sharks or bring them in whole, fins attached and prohibit shark finning in their waters.

Thanks to our Alliance, Ministers from the New Zealand Government have announced that they intent to stop the practice of  shark finning in their waters.  The public comment period ends December 8.  Add your voice here.

Shark finning is already illegal in 98 countries including Australia, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, the European Union, Guam, Guatemala and Belize.

In New Zealand fisherman can remove fins if the sharks are dead. The bodies are often dumped overboard to avoid the costs of onboard storage. Additionally, despite the denial , there is recent photographic and video footage proving live finning takes place in New Zealand waters.  The 2009 Nelson Mail  reported 29 sharks had their fins removed, and some were returned to the water alive. This cruel and wasteful practice leaves sharks to die a slow and painful death. 

Shark Stewards is calling on Team Emirates and the America’s Cup Event Authority to Speak Out For Sharks and support a no shark finning policy in New Zealand.

Shark Fin New Zed Facts

  • NZ is one of the top 20 exporters of shark fins to Hong Kong, alongside Spain, Taiwan, and Singapore
  • NZ shark fin exports are worth ~ $4.5million annually,
  • NZ fishing exports are worth ~$1.56 billion
  • Over 73 of the 112 shark species in NZ waters are commercially fished
  • Only 9% (11 species) are managed under the Quota Management System
  • The remaining species in NZ waters are completely unprotected.

The alliance is fighting to bring New Zealand shark legislation in line with other countries. It’s advocating sharks are caught by commercial fishers are killed and brought to shore with “fins naturally attached”. This internationally-recommended approach will discourage the wasteful practice of killing sharks only for their fins, reinforce laws against live finning and encourage long-term sustainable fishing.


What is the New Zealand Government doing about shark finning?

 In 2008 the Ministry of Fisheries released its five-year National Plan of Action for sharks (NPOA), but has moved glacially  despite intensive lobbying from groups like Forest & Bird and marine scientists to ban shark finning, the Ministry continued to allow sharks to be caught exclusively for their fins and the bodies dumped overboard. Live finning remained illegal.

The Government is currently reviewing the NPOA, so this is the time to enact stricter legislation. In October, the NPOA review will be released so the public can comment and ask for changes by way of submission. The final NPOA is scheduled to be released in December.

What does the Alliance want? 

The Alliance is fighting for a NPOA that eliminates take of any shark for its fins alone.

The Alliances is pressuring for a comprehensive National Plan of Action for sharks  that will  ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use.

 The NPOA review is currently underway and can  help make shark finning illegal in New Zealand.

Other failures of the current system, such as meaningless quotas, collapsing shark numbers and inadequate observer coverage of shark fisheries need to be remedied. 

Our submission guide on the NPOA will recommend: 

•    Any sharks taken must be landed with the whole carcass – fins naturally attached

•    Processing of sharks (fins, meat, liver and meat) must be carried out on land*

•    Quotas must be set according to quantitative stock assessments

•    To implement effective management for shark species listed as threatened by the IUCN and provide specific management strategies on a species-by-species basis

What Can You Do?

Click here to sign our partner organization  Forest & Bird petition calling for “fins naturally attached” 

  • Watch for Shark Steward’s appeal to the Sailing Team and America’s Cup Event Authority to speak out in support of sharks
  • Follow us on Facebook and wtach for us on the water during the event.
  • Download our partner organization NZ Forest & Bird’s  factsheet
  • Print out this flier and spread the word! 

Email the Minister for Primary Industries, which includes fisheries, ( and Minister of Conservation ( or write to them Freepost, Private Bag 18888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160) asking for a ban on shark fining and better protection for our threatened sharks

Click here to visit the Facebook page.

See the full position on shark finning here