The finning of dead sharks will be completely banned by 2016,
the Government has announced.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Primary Industries
Minister Nathan Guy this morning released the National Plan
of Action for Sharks which lays out the Government's
objectives for managing shark populations for the next three
In November, ministers proposed a ban on the finning of dead
They initially proposed that the ban would be applied to all
species by 2016.
The deadline has now been brought back to October 2015 for
all species except blue sharks due to an overwhelming public
Around 45 000 submissions were received on the proposal.
This was likely to cause some controversy because blue sharks
were one of the most vulnerable species to the finning
Finning of live sharks was banned in 2009, but fishers are
still able to cut fins off dead sharks and throw away the
The new regime requires fishing companies to release sharks
alive or bring them ashore with fins attached for processing.
New Zealand is among the world's top 20 exporters of shark
fins, most of which are sent to Asia to be made into a
popular delicacy or traditional medicines.
There are 113 species of shark in New Zealand waters, though
it is mostly blue sharks that are finned after being caught
in tuna long-lines.
Only seven species are completely protected under the
Wildlife Act: great whites, basking shark, deep water nurse
shark, spine-tailed devil ray, manta ray, whale shark, and
oceanic whitetip shark.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald