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Elimination of shark finning in New Zealand fisheries - Consequential amendments to fisheries regulations

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI ) seeks feedback from stakeholders and tangata whenua on proposed regulations for a ban on shark finning in New Zealand in line with intentions announced by the Minister for Primary Industries and the Minister of Conservation in January 2014.

Consultation document

Initial position paper Elimination of shark finning in New Zealand fisheries Consequential amendments to fisheries regulations [PDF, 266 KB]

Implementation of a ban on shark finning will require amendments to several pieces of fisheries legislation including:

  • the Fisheries (Commercial Fishing) Regulations 2001,
  • the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2001, and
  • Schedule 6 of the Fisheries Act 1996 (the Act).

Background Information

What is shark finning?

Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins while the remainder of the shark is discarded in the ocean.

What is currently being consulted on?

We are currently consulting on the regulations to prohibit shark finning and are seeking views on how to implement the ban.

In addition to a general rule prohibiting landing only the fins of a shark, the application of a fins naturally attached rule or alternatively a requirement that fins are landed in proportion to the greenweight of the landed shark are proposed.  The choice of option for each species of shark is related to both the level of existing or potential use of the shark species and the level of monitoring applied.

General application of a fins naturally attached rule is proposed, with exceptions where the ratio approach will minimise disruption to existing fisheries where full utilisation occurs or the potential for this exists.  

MPI proposes to apply the ratio approach to five QMS species that are currently fully utilised (school shark, ghost shark, elephant fish, rig, and pale ghost shark). These five species comprised 51% of overall shark catches in 2012-13, and are fully utilised in over 99% of cases.

Monitoring of QMS species is rigorous and it is considered that the current monitoring regime can be drawn upon to effectively monitor compliance with the ratio for these species.

For two further QMS species with historically high levels of fin-only landings (i.e. mako and porbeagle sharks), it is proposed to trial the ratio approach for the first two years of the implementation of the finning ban. 

MPI considers that the ratio approach would allow for further development of markets for the meat of these sharks, and that requiring fins to be landed naturally attached at this stage would likely impede this utilisation.

Focussed monitoring of compliance with the ratio and related non-regulatory measures (encouraging live release, and avoidance of unwanted catches) would occur. The two year implementation period initially identified in the NPOA-Sharks would be used to monitor and make improvements to the management framework where necessary.

A review would take place in two years to determine the continued appropriateness of the ratio approach for these species.

The remainder of species, including QMS species blue sharks and spiny dogfish, along with a wide range of non-QMS species, are proposed to subject to a requirement to land with fins naturally attached if fins are to be retained.

Additional documents 

NPOA-Sharks 2013
Strategy to eliminate shark finning in highly migratory species fisheries
Strategy to eliminate shark finning in deepwater fisheries
Strategy to eliminate shark finning in inshore fisheries
More information