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Longline Tuna Prices To Rise From ISSF Shark Finning Ban? Global, September 7, 12

Some of the world’s major tuna brands have promised to stop engaging with vessels that shark fin, but they’re likely “scratching their heads about the practicalities” of this endeavor, which include higher production costs, says Grahame Southwick, owner of the fishing and processing company Fiji Fish Marketing Group.
As of Sept. 1, member companies of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) are not permitted to do business with vessels that carry out shark finning or with vessel owning companies that do not have a public policy prohibiting the practice. Shark finning is the act of removing a shark’s fin while discarding the carcass at sea. It violates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as well as several other FAO resolutions and national governments, but it is legal in some countries.
The ISSF ban will only be successful if its supporters are willing to compensate for the financial losses of the fishing companies, says Southwick.
“As they say in the industry, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. They all want to do these things but nobody’s prepared to pay for the consequences.” The average longliner earns USD 100,000 annually from sharkfinning, he says.
“Are they prepared to share the pain? Are they prepared to pay higher prices for their fish?”
Shark finning is necessary for the survival of the industry, says Southwick, because the boats cannot make money out of tuna anymore. The tuna industry that existed 15 years ago is now a fishing industry, where by-catch is no longer dumped, but kept and sold to stay viable, he says. “We’re for the theory [of ending shark finning] but you have to show us how it can be done without destroying the livelihood of the fleets.”
Since the ISSF measure only applies to a portion of the industry, other countries will continue to shark fin regardless. If the practice was to be banned globally, then everyone would be affected and forced to share the burden of the higher production costs, says Southwick.
“I’m sure they’ll be scratching their heads too as to how they can make it work. They can all write a letter to Father Christmas and hope that it works, but I’m sure they’ll be scratching their heads about the practicalities of it.”