Cabinet yesterday approved a note on the implementation of a national ban on shark-finning, following a report that T&T ranks sixth worldwide in terms of the volume of shark fins supplied to Japan.Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj said this raised flags on an international level and questioned the sustainability of the country's fishing industry if this was occurring.Although T&T is well-known for its own delicacy of bake and shark, in that case, the entire fish is used.
But, speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, yesterday, Maharaj said, "Although shark-finning has not been specifically reported or observed for artisanal or industrial reasons in T&T, the practice may already occur."
Maharaj noted that T&T was a signatory to many internationally binding agreements on conservation and trade of biodiversity and in light of the destructive effects of shark-finning to populations and the vulnerability of sharks to over-exploitation, it was imperative for this practice to be banned.T&T is the first country in the Caribbean to put such a ban in place.
The policing and actual implementation of the ban remained vague, however, as Maharaj said Attorney General Anand Ramlogan needed to look at the necessary regulations to give it effect. He said the AG and the ministry will discuss the issues with local stakeholders and fisheries division.Asked about the recent Petrotrin oil spill and its effect on fisheries, Maharaj said that would be determined by the Ministry of Energy.