New Delhi: India Friday put a ban on the removal of shark fins on board a vessel on the sea in a move to stop the inhuman hunting of sharks.
The ministry of environment and forest cleared a policy prohibiting removal of shark fins, which is a delicacy in many countries.
"The policy prescribes that any possession of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the body of the shark, would amount to hunting of a schedule I species, which get the highest degree of protection," said an official.
The policy calls for concerted action and implementation by the state governments concerned through appropriate legislative, enforcement and other measures.
Indian waters are known to be home to about 40-60 species of sharks.
However, the population of some of these has declined over the years due to several reasons including over exploitation and unsustainable fishing practices.
Ten species of sharks have been listed in the Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
"Due to high demand of shark fins in the shark fin-soup industry, it has been reported that the fins of the sharks captured in the mid sea are removed on the vessel and the de-finned sharks are thrown back in the sea to die a painful death," the official said.