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


Tel.: +1 604 822 2731; email: l.biery@fisheries.ubc.ca


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 (Mfw:Mr) 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 Mfw:Mr 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.