GLOBEFISH - Information and Analysis on World Fish Trade

State of the global market for shark products

Year published: 2015

This publication is intended to complement and inform the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, developed in 1998 to address concerns over possible negative effects of increased shark catches on vulnerable shark populations.

It is also intended as a part complement to, and part continuation of, Shark Utilization, Marketing and Trade (FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 389), published in 1999. Much of that paper remains valid, e.g. the information on product utilization and processing, as well as that on the biological characteristics of shark species. Consequently, the present publication focuses primarily on providing an updated picture of the world market for shark products using data that in many cases have only become available in recent years, such as origin and destination data. Where data are still lacking, an effort has been made to estimate the relevant figures through examination of the trade databases of the world’s major traders of shark products. This increased availability of data is believed to have allowed a more accurate – and up-to-date – initial evaluation of the relative importance of each country or territory, thus providing a more solid basis on which to target investigative efforts. The country-by-country assessments of shark fin trade recording practices also constitute another important area of focus that had not previously been addressed. However, given the primary objective of this study (above), those details that are necessarily not captured in such a broad-scale review will need to be identified and elucidated in regional or country-specific studies.

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