Animal Law Review


Paula Walker

Author Details

Paula Walker, director, Coalition to Protect Ocean Diversity

First Page



Shark finning is amongst the most wasteful and cruel exploitation of animals currently practiced in the world today. The decimation of shark populations threatens the fragile balance of the oceans’ ecosystems and ultimately threatens the human population as well. This Article addresses the economic and cultural reasons for the continued practice and demand for shark finning. Many protections for sharks have been attempted, but nearly all fail due to inadequate restrictions and enforcement. Various international treaties and conventions have to some degree addressed the issue, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Convention on Migratory Species, among others. A leader on the issue, the United States has made several statutory and regulatory efforts to prohibit shark finning. Other countries also have enacted protections. However, due to lack of enforcement, lack of resources, and the presence of legal loopholes, shark finning continues on a wide scale. This Article examines weaknesses in the current attempts at protective measures and explores new ideas for the protection of sharks.

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