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The Influence of Culture on the International Management of Shark Finning

Author(s): Dell’appa A, Smith MC, Kaneshiro-Pineiro MY


Shark finning is prohibited in many countries, but high prices for fins from the Asian market help maintain the international black-market and poaching. Traditional shark fin bans fail to recognize that the main driver of fin exploitation is linked to cultural beliefs about sharks in traditional Chinese culture. Therefore, shark finning should be addressed considering the social science approach as part of the fishery management scheme. This paper investigates the cultural significance of sharks in traditional Chinese and Hawaiian cultures, as valuable examples of how specific differences in cultural beliefs can drive individuals’ attitudes toward the property of shark finning. We suggest the use of a social science approach that can be useful in the design of successful education campaigns to help change individuals’ attitudes toward shark fin consumption. Finally, alternative management strategies for commercial fishers are provided to maintain self-sustainability of local coastal communities.

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