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Proposed legislation making it illegal to sell shark fin soup in restaurants has raised the stakes in the long-running conservation campaign to stamp out the cruel trade. Shark fin continues to be sold freely throughout Australia despite growing public disapproval, the online naming and shaming of restaurants and tougher fishing laws.

Conservationists say many Chinese restaurants, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, still openly — or discreetly — offer the highly-prized shark fin soup on their menus, mostly using product from overseas. While shark finning — the practice of cutting the fins from a live shark and dumping the body — is an offence in all jurisdictions in Australia, it is not illegal to either import, export or sell shark fin. The international shark fin trade is blamed for a dangerous decline in shark populations, with one-third of shark species facing extinction.

An estimated 73 million sharks are killed worldwide every year, with many suffering excruciating deaths when fishermen slice off their fins and throw their bodies back into the ocean where they slowly drown or are eaten alive by other predators. In Chinese culture, shark fin soup is regarded as a delicacy and is traditionally served at formal occasions to symbolise wealth, power, prestige and honour. The gelatinous shark fin is used to give texture to the soup rather than flavour and provides negligible nutritional value.

The fin can also pose a health risk to humans because it often carries high levels of mercury which is poisonous to the nervous system. She said shark fin soup was still regularly served in restaurants in NSW with imported shark fin the main source of supply. This is not just about animal welfare … there are so many other pressures on sharks at the moment — pollution, climate change and overfishing in general — and if we disturb or destroy sharks then we will jeopardise the ecosystem and the whole food web as well.

Apart from lobbying governments to ban the sale and possession of shark fin, conservation groups in Australia and overseas have made some ground in turning public opinion against the trade. International businesses have been targeted and several large hotel chains have stopped serving shark fin soup shark fin option trade australia more than 20 airlines are refusing to transport it. High-profile celebrities have joined the cause, including soccer star David Beckham, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

US conservation shark fin option trade australia WildAid reported last year that the shark fin trade in China had been slashed by half following a campaign involving Shark fin option trade australia celebrities such as movie actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming.

AMCS marine campaigner Tooni Mahto said an anti-corruption drive by the Chinese government was also impacting on shark fin sales in that country.

Shark fin option trade australia Mahto said that by continuing to allow shark fin to be imported from countries that still allowed live shark finning, Australia was complicit in the inhumane practice. The Brisbane-based AMCS was continuing to pressure the Federal Government to introduce an outright ban on shark fin, because the high shark fin option trade australia the product shark fin option trade australia fetch continued to provide a great incentive for the trade.

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Cathy Van Extel reports. It is also calling for tougher penalties for those who illegally harvest shark fins in this country. It may not be advertised on menus but the availability of shark fin soup is still there in restaurants. The high price tag reflects the cultural value of shark fins, which have traditionally been served by the Chinese at special functions to show the wealth of the host and respect for their guests.

Mahto says the international shark fin trade is responsible for the decline in many shark populations, especially species with large fins such as great whites and whale sharks. The convicted man was one of three fisherman arrested after a raid on their Maryborough fishing shack in April last year after a public tip-off about illegal mud crabs.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Greg Bowness says the discovery of so many shark fins took authorities by surprise. In the Maryborough case, authorities could not determine whether the shark fins were to be sold locally or on the overseas market, nor how the shark fins were harvested. Live shark finning, the practice of cutting fins from live sharks and dumping their bodies, is illegal in all jurisdictions in Australia, but marine conservationists have accused Australia of being complicit in the cruel trade by allowing imports of shark fins that cannot be traced to their source.

Data for shark fin imports to Australia has only been available for the past couple of years. Australia imported 23 tonnes in and 18 tonnes in Last month Faruqi introduced a private members bill into the NSW Parliament seeking to amend the Food Act to make it an offence to possess, sell, prepare or process shark fins or any shark fin derivative. The Greens MP says there is strong community support for such a ban, but the numbers in parliament are uncertain.

DNA 'fingerprinting' of endangered animals. As well as importing shark fins, Australia also exports them. Between and Australia exported tonnes, but in recent years the export market has declined. The organisation suspects fins are being stockpiled until prices improve. The recent drop in demand for shark fins is being attributed to effective public campaigns and a corruption crackdown in China. Mahto says such a ban would provide absolute certainty that Australia is not importing shark fins from countries that still allow live finning.

Listen to RN Breakfast to hear Cathy Van Extel's full report on conservationists' calls for a complete ban on the shark fin trade in Australia. This [series episode segment] has image,. How involved is Australia in the global shark fin trade? Thursday 18 June 4: Despite the cultural value attached to shark fin soup in China, consumption has dropped thanks to campaigns and a corruption clampdown by the government. Renewed calls to ban shark fin trade in Australia Download Thursday 18 June More This [series episode segment] has image,.

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