Pacific stocks of the oceanic whitetip shark, a favourite of fin soup enthusiasts, sank by as much as 17 percent a year between 1995 and 2010 despite catch and finning limits, a study said Wednesday.
Seafood lovers can play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the world's coral reefs and their gorgeously-coloured fish, says a leading marine scientist.
Threatened shark species are being used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, in several US cities, according to an unprecedented study based on DNA testing.
Conservationists have attributed a dwindling demand for shark fins to China's crackdown on corruption which has forced a decline in lavish banquets.
Scientists say the market for shark fin soup is the likeliest reason for the sharp drop in blue shark numbers over the last 30 years.
Sharks may strike terror among swimmers at the beach but the predators are increasingly ending up as prey, served up in fish-and-chips shops, sparking concern among environmentalists.
Indonesia and India on Tuesday were named as the world's biggest catchers of sharks in an EU-backed probe into implementing a new pact to protect seven threatened species of sharks and rays.
Taiwan has begun testing DNA from shark fins sold in local markets in a bid to protect endangered species such as great whites and whale sharks, an official from the Fisheries Agency said Wednesday.
The Marshall Islands symbolically disposed of confiscated shark fins at sea Tuesday in a ceremony witnessed by regional leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
The European Union endorsed tighter shark fishing rules on Monday to ensure fishermen respect a ban on slicing off the fins of their catches and throwing the live body overboard to drown.