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“Shark finning” is the practice of retaining shark fins and discarding the remaining carcass while at sea. Shark finning contravenes the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, as well as the resolutions of a number of other international marine bodies, all of which call for minimizing waste and discards.

Shark finning has also contributed to major uncertainties about the total biomass and species composition of sharks caught. Tuna RFMOs restrict shark finning through a proviso that the weight of fins landed cannot exceed 5% of the total shark catch on board.  The fin-to-carcass ratio can vary considerably depending on the species, the dressing of the carcass, and on the different ways fins are cut, therefore creating difficulties in enforcement and accurate data collection.