U of G Study on Shark Fins, Manta Gills Grabs International Attention

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Prof. Dirk Steinke

A U of G study investigating the global shark fin and manta gill market was featured on Radio Canada International.

Shark fins and manta gills are sold around the globe for traditional medicine, although importing them for sale is illegal for species at risk.

Using cutting-edge DNA barcoding technology, Prof. Dirk Steinke found 71 per cent of dried fins and gills collected from markets and stores came from species listed as at risk and therefore banned from international trade.

Published in Scientific Reports, the study involved collecting 129 market samples in Canada, China and Sri Lanka representing 20 shark and ray species. Twelve of those species, including whale sharks, were listed as protected and illegal to trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.