Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2010
This fact sheet provides information on the importation of shark fin and other shark products into Australia. It should be read in conjunction with the general information sheets entitled The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and How to export or import wildlife products.
The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps protect targeted species against overexploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.
The Australian Government also works with other nations to protect wildlife globally, by implementing CITES (see CITES fact sheet mentioned above).
In Australia, the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under Part 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), which is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities ((DSEWPaC).
Regulation applies equally to individuals, commercial organisations and not-for-profit organisations.
Sharks and CITES
The international trade in shark products (including bones, teeth and shark fin used in food such as soups or dumplings) has been identified as a threat to the long-term survival of certain species of shark.
Three species of shark are listed on Appendix II of CITES:
- Cetorhinus maximus — basking shark
- Carcharodon carcharias — great white shark
- Rhincodon typus — whale shark
Appendix II includes species that could become threatened with extinction if trade is not regulated.
Appendix II shark specimens cannot be legally imported into Australia for personal or commercial purposes unless:
- the specimen is accompanied by a valid Australian CITES import permit (Australian import permits can be granted only if an overseas CITES export permit has been granted); or
- the specimen is accompanied by a valid certificate issued by the overseas CITES management authority confirming that the specimen was obtained before the species was listed on CITES (pre-CITES certificate); or
- the specimen is accompanied by an overseas CITES export permit or equivalent, is part of personal accompanied baggage and is intended for personal use and not for trade or sale.
To avoid seizure all products must be clearly labelled or have documentation certifying the species of origin.
No permits are required for the import of specimens obtained from shark species other than those listed above; however, to avoid seizure all products must be clearly labelled or have documentation certifying the species of origin.
Under the EPBC Act, all products claiming on their packaging or labelling (in pictures or words) to contain material from threatened species will be treated as though they do.
What else do I need to know?
Imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service). These organisations may be contacted through offices in each state capital, or through their head offices:
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
5 Constitution Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6275 6666
Freecall: 1300 363 263
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6272 3933
Freecall: 1800 020 504
Where can I get more information?
For more information on permits, please read the general information sheet entitled How to export or import wildlife and wildlife products or contact DEWHA at the address below:
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO BOX 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 1900
Facsimile: 02 6274 1921