Shark finning rules
Shark finning and the law
Since 1 October 2014, it's been illegal in New Zealand for a commercial fisher to remove the fins from any shark and discard the body at sea. There are specific requirements for certain species.
Requirements of the ban for different species
Fins naturally attached
Fishers must land all shark fins naturally attached to the body for:
- all non-Quota Management System (QMS) species
- spiny dogfish (a QMS species).
The fins must be attached to the body through some portion of uncut skin.
Fins naturally or artificially attached
Fishers must land fins naturally or artificially attached for blue shark (a QMS species).
Blue shark fins can be removed, provided they're landed attached to the shark's body (for example, by being tied or sewn on). This encourages waste minimisation and allows the fishery for blue shark meat to continue.
Fins not attached and following a fin-to-greenweight ratio
If fishers follow a fin-to-greenweight ratio, they can land shark fins separately to the body for 7 QMS species:
- elephant fish
- ghost shark (dark)
- mako shark
- pale ghost shark
- porbeagle shark
- school shark.
For each species, the weight of fins landed during a trip must not be more than a certain percentage of the species' greenweight (unprocessed weight), caught during that trip. This prevents fishers from discarding sharks after taking their fins.
Find out more
- Estimation of fin ratios [PDF, 1.1 MB]
- Fisheries (Conversion Factors) Notice 2014 [PDF, 3 MB]
Returning sharks to sea
Fishers can return some shark species to sea subject to certain conditions.
In some cases, fishers must report returned sharks to us. This ensures that we receive accurate data on shark deaths.
Find out more
- Regulations to eliminate shark finning in New Zealand fisheries - Regulatory Impact Statement [PDF, 288 KB]
- Decision letter on implementation of the shark finning ban [PDF, 930 KB]
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