Rules on shark fin removal at sea tightened

PORTLAND, Maine – Interstate regulators are tightening the restrictions on the removal of the fins from smooth dogfish sharks while at sea.

Smooth dogfish are the last species of shark that can have their fins removed at sea in the U.S. Many other sharks can be hunted, but fins can’t be removed until processing on land.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a new rule that allows fishermen to bring the shark to land with fins removed, as long as their total retained catch is at least 25 per cent smooth dogfish. Presently, fishermen can bring ashore as many as they choose.

The fins are used to make shark fin soup. Environmentalists want to shut the U.S. shark fin market down completely.