Fisheries Infosite


Eliminating shark finning in New Zealand


Conservation and management of New Zealand sharks PDF | 281kb
Landing sharks with fins attached PDF | 344kb
Landing shark fins subject to a ratio PDF | 259kb
Requirements for returning sharks to the sea (Schedule 6) PDF | 286kb

Fisheries (Shark Fin to Greenweight Ratios) Circular 2014
This Circular specifies which shark species which may have fins landed separate to the body, the ratio for each species, and the fin set that was used to set the ratio.
PDF | 46kb
Fisheries (Conversion Factors) Notice 2014 PDF | 3.1mb

From 1 October 2014, it will be illegal for a commercial fisher to remove the fins from any shark and discard the body of the shark at sea in New Zealand. This date is significantly earlier than the initial timeframe proposed in the NPOA-Sharks 2013 to enact a ban on shark finning in New Zealand.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) consulted with fisheries stakeholders and the public between May and June 2014 on a range of options for implementing a ban on shark finning. Submissions were received from industry, environmental groups, and the general public, including a large number of form submissions.

MPI and industry have worked together to come up with a solution that effectively eliminates shark finning without undue impacts on fishing operations in the situation where shark finning does not occur and sharks are fully utilised.

The ban requires all shark fins to be landed attached to the body of the shark for all non-Quota Management System (QMS) species and  two QMS species (spiny dogfish and blue shark). In most cases, limited processing will be allowed (e.g. removal of the head) but the fins will still need to be attached to the body through some portion of uncut skin.

For blue sharks, fishers will be allowed to remove the fins during processing but the fins must be stored and landed attached to the body of the shark (e.g. by being tied or sewn on). This will allow the small fishery for blue shark meat to continue.  A requirement for these fishers to land blue sharks with fins naturally attached would likely lead to all blue sharks being discarded (which would increase rather than decrease wastage, the latter being a key goal of prohibiting shark finning).

For seven QMS species (elephantfish, ghost shark, mako shark, pale ghost shark, porbeagle shark, rig, and school shark) fishers will be able to land shark fins separately to the body of the shark but only in accordance with a gazetted fin to greenweight ratio. The ratio means that the weight of fins for a species of shark landed for a trip will be compared to the greenweight (whole weight) of that species of shark landed for that trip. For example, if sharks are landed that weigh a total of 100 kgs and the gazetted ratio is 3.50, the fins of that species landed must not weigh more than 3.5 kgs. There will be a legal requirement that fins are separately stored and landed by species.




Ghost shark
Mako shark
Pale ghost shark
Porbeagle shark
School shark

Fins artificially attached

Blue shark

Fins naturally attached

Spiny dogfish
All non-QMS species


Amendments have also been made to allow fishers to return dead, unwanted sharks to the sea, while ensuring that they are reported and counted against the total allowable catch for the species and against a fisher’s annual catch entitlement. This is an important step to ensure we continue to receive good data on shark mortalities, but fishers do not face excess costs for unavoidable catches of sharks with little or no commercial value.

MPI recognises the impact these regulations are likely to have on fishers, but considers it necessary to effectively implement the ban on finning and demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to the conservation and management of sharks.

MPI will continue to work with stakeholders on the operational aspects of implementing the ban on shark finning. This will include targeted communications (e.g. factsheets) to ensure all requirements are clear and may include MPI officials meeting with stakeholders directly.

Elimination of shark finning in New Zealand fisheries Consequential amendments to fisheries regulations – Final Advice Paper (288kb)
Regulations to eliminate shark finning in New Zealand fisheries - Regulatory Impact Statement (458kb)
Decision letter on implementation of the shark finning ban  (1.3mb)

NOTE : The Final Advice Paper on regulations to eliminate shark finning in New Zealand incorrectly records the number of submissions received from the New Zealand Shark Alliance as 43. The correct number should have been 750; the remaining submissions were not received due to problems with the electronic mailbox.

Contact us about this page    Last updated 25/01/2017