India has banned hunting sharks for only their fins in a move to protect endangered species from indiscriminate hunting for parts wanted abroad.
India lists several of the dozens of shark species in its waters as endangered, including hammerheads, broadfins and whale sharks. Under the Environment Ministrys new policy, fishermen found with hauls including detached fins risk up to seven years in prison for hunting an endangered species since identifying species by fins alone is difficult. Worldwide, sharks are in sharp decline, with some species numbers now 10 per cent of what they were three decades ago. Their demise threatens the health of ocean ecosystems, experts say, as the top predators are key to keeping fish and turtle populations in check. Tens of millions are caught every year.