The initiative will be reviewed by the Committee on Fisheries of the Upper House. (Photo: Senado.cl/sharktrust.org/FIS)
Senators call for ban on shark finning
Friday, March 11, 2011, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Several Chilean senators filed a motion to ban shark finning, in order to avoid the extinction of the species.
The promoters of the initiative, Antonio Horvath, Carlos Cantero, José Antonio Gómez, Jaime Orpis and Hosaín Sabag, argue that it is essential that measures be taken so that fishing gear is not altered if it increases the incidental catch of sharks.
They also consider it necessary to allow the release of this resource without compromising its integrity or its life.
As prices of shark fins are excessively high and actual bodies have a low value, fishermen usually cut the fins and throw the rest of the specimen into the sea.
The senators demand that the practice of forcing fishermen to land sharks with their fins attached to every body be implemented, as indicated by the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Sharks, which was adopted by the Government of Chile in 2006.
|Shark fins are prized in Asian countries, where they prepare a soup is a delicacy. (Photo: Stock File)
The initiative, which will soon be reviewed by the Committee on Fisheries of the Upper House, aims to eradicate the fishing method in the country which affects around 15 species of shark, especially the tile and the porbeagle.
This bill is driven by the organization Oceana, whose executive director, Alex Munoz said: "Chile has become a major exporter of shark fins, this practice is severely affecting the conservation of these animals, so we hope that this country will introduce a law banning shark finning as soon as possible."
The regulations apply to all vessels that conduct fishing activities whether directed or incidental catches of sharks are carried out in Chilean waters.
The senators claim that "the disappearance of sharks can destabilize the system and cause many negative ecological impacts on the structures and functions of marine ecosystems and communities."
They add that "in fact, the decline in shark populations and ecosystems is altering some parts of the world."
According to data provided by the National Customs Service between 2006 and 2009, Chile exported more than 71 tonnes of dried shark fins, corresponding to eight different species.
By Analia Murias