IN A letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen (ADSGAF) has called on the government to adopt a fins naturally attached policy in support of Humane Society International/Indias (HSI) campaign to end the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.
Shark finning involves removal of fins from live sharks and subsequent disposal of animals back into the ocean. The practice is linked to the decimation of a large number of shark population worldwide because of demand for shark-fin soup in international markets across Asia,Europe and the United States. This demand has caused unregulated increase in the number of sharks being fished and pressure on shark populations in the Indian seas.
Fins naturally attached policies stipulate that fishermen cannot land a shark without its fins intact on the body and cannot possess,transfer or land shark fins that are not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass.
The letter says according to a shark catch data reported to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO),India is the second largest shark catching country,and one of the largest exporters of shark fins in the world.
Shark fins are mainly used in shark fin soup,a Chinese cuisine often served at weddings,banquets or other celebratory occasions.
Shark fishermen in India traditionally make use of all the parts of a shark,including meat,skin,teeth and fins. Officials of ADSGAF said it supported the fins naturally attached policy to conserve sharks as a fishery resource and for food security. The group also believes the policy will help safeguard shark species against commercial exploitation. Shark finning in India waters is believed to be the work of fishing from foreign vessels and poachers. If the government adopts a fins naturally attached policy,it will help to provide better regulation of fishing in Indias waters and bring about an end to poaching, said Dr YS Yadava,advisor,ADSGAF.