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Abstract

The purpose of this Article is to shed light on the plight on sharks in international and domestic waters. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year. The cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning is responsible for a large portion of those killings. Shark fins are the most valuable part of the shark, because they are used as the key ingredient – and namesake – in an Asian delicacy known as “shark fin soup.” This Article opens with background information on the dire situation sharks are facing in our oceans, and how the depletion of these top predators from the oceans has a drastic effect on the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. Next, the Article examines on approaches to curb shark finning taken by the United States, European Union, and China and Hong Kong. Then the Article moves to a focus on the international legal framework for protecting sharks, specifically focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This Article concludes with an analysis of how the current legal framework is insufficient to provide the necessary protection for sharks and examines what more can be done.