EU takes major step to protect sharks
BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union took a major step to protect sharks on Thursday, banning the brutal practice of hacking off their fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to die.
The European Parliament voted by an overwhelming 566-47 margin to force all boats in EU waters and EU-registered vessels around the world to land sharks with their fins attached and prove the animal had not been thrown back finless.
The practice of shark finning stems from the high price the body parts fetch in China for the shark fin soup, a speciality at high-class banquets, and the low value of the rest of the body.
The consumption of fins has risen as China's living standards have increased. Fins can sell for as much as US$700 (S$857) a pound.