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The Shark Fins Bill, which would ban the import and export of shark fins, was being introduced as a Private Members Bill by Christina Rees. It had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 15 July 2022.

The scale of the global trade in shark fins is estimated at around 16-17,000 (metric) tonnes per year. The annual number of sharks killed globally by the practice is estimated to be around 97 million.

The landing of fins not attached to sharks was banned in the EU, including the UK, since 2003. However, EU countries appear to be responsible for the supply of a large share of shark fins imported by some of the major trading jurisdictions, with Spain standing out as by far the largest individual country source.

The UK imported around 60 tonnes of shark fins per year between 2013 and 2017. In 2020, it exported around 5 tonnes.

The introduction of the Bill follows a campaign to ban the trade in fins in the UK.  This included a parliamentary e-petition which received over 100,000 signatures and was debated in parliament on 7 June 2021.

The Government issued a call for evidence on the impact of the shark fin trade on protecting endangered shark species in December 2020. A summary of responses was published in August 2021. This out the Government’s intention to ban the export and import of shark fins, including the existing 20kg personal allowance.

The Bill was published on 12 July 2022. Defra published Explanatory Notes, a Delegated Powers Memorandum and an Impact Assessment for the Bill, which are also available on the Parliament website.  

The Bill received general support doing during Second Reading, including from the Government.  It had its Committee Stage on 16 November 2022, with one technical amendment made, and again support from Members and the Government.

Report Stage for the Bill is scheduled in the House of Commons for 20 January 2023.

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