Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 151–161 | Cite as

The Influence of Culture on the International Management of Shark Finning

  • Andrea Dell’Apa
  • M. Chad Smith
  • Mahealani Y. Kaneshiro-Pineiro


Shark finning is prohibited in many countries, but high prices for fins from the Asian market help maintain the international black-market and poaching. Traditional shark fin bans fail to recognize that the main driver of fin exploitation is linked to cultural beliefs about sharks in traditional Chinese culture. Therefore, shark finning should be addressed considering the social science approach as part of the fishery management scheme. This paper investigates the cultural significance of sharks in traditional Chinese and Hawaiian cultures, as valuable examples of how specific differences in cultural beliefs can drive individuals’ attitudes toward the property of shark finning. We suggest the use of a social science approach that can be useful in the design of successful education campaigns to help change individuals’ attitudes toward shark fin consumption. Finally, alternative management strategies for commercial fishers are provided to maintain self-sustainability of local coastal communities.


China Cultural beliefs Education campaigns Hawai’i Shark finning 



We thank three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly helped in improving the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Dell’Apa
    • 1
  • M. Chad Smith
    • 1
  • Mahealani Y. Kaneshiro-Pineiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, Flanagan 250East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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