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A global review of species‐specific shark‐fin‐to‐body‐mass ratios and relevant legislation

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In this review, shark‐fin‐to‐body‐mass ratios, which have been legislated by several countries as a means of regulating and monitoring shark fisheries, have been compiled and reviewed. Observed and legislated wet‐fin‐mass‐to‐round‐mass (M fw:M r) ratios have been collected for 50 species and eight countries. Wet to dry‐fin mass conversion factors have also been reviewed. Existing shark fishery legislation was compiled by political entity and regional fishery management organizations (RFMO). The mean observed M fw:M r ratio for all species was 3·0%, but actual fin to body‐mass ratios varied considerably by species and location. Species‐specific mean ratios ranged from 1·1 to 10·9%, and estimated mean ratios ranged from 1·5 to 6·1% by country, depending on fin‐cutting practices and the mix of exploited species. The mean conversion factor for wet to dry‐fin mass was 0·43. Shark‐related legislation was found to exist in 37 countries and the 22 maritime members of the European Union, and shark‐related regulations have been designated by nine RFMOs. Results suggest that currently regulated ratios may not be appropriate for all species and fin‐cutting practices, and regulations based on generalized ratios for all sharks may be inadequate. Alternative policies may be necessary for the effective management of global shark fisheries.
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Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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