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Shark Fins Bill

Volume 830: debated on Friday 16 June 2023

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, I thank noble Lords from across the House for their support for this simple but important piece of legislation. It will ban the import and export of shark fins in the UK and take a stand against the barbaric practice of sharks being caught, having their fins sliced off and being thrown back into the sea to have a slow, lingering death. Thankfully, the UK is now making it clear that this practice must stop, setting an example to our global trading partners, which we hope will follow suit.

I pay tribute to my honourable friend Christina Rees for passionately and expertly steering the Bill through the Commons. I thank the Minister and the wonderfully supportive staff in Defra, who did much of the heavy lifting on this Bill, particularly Lara Turtle and Cat Bell. Most of all, I place on record my thanks to the many marine and shark conservation groups that have campaigned so effectively on this issue, in particular, the Shark Trust, Bite-Back and Shark Guardian.

This Bill sends an important message about the importance of marine conservation. As we discussed at Second Reading, it is not a substitute for a more comprehensive animal welfare Bill, but for now we take pleasure in the passing of this Bill. I beg to move.

My Lords, I want briefly to thank my noble friend Lady Jones and Christina Rees MP in the other place for bringing forward this Bill. It is an important piece of animal welfare legislation. I am delighted that the Government chose to support it and that we will see it pass. I thank everybody who worked on it and supported it.

My Lords, I will make a statement on the legislative consent in relation to the Bill. The Bill was amended in the other place to make provision across the United Kingdom. As noble Lords will know, child maintenance—

Shark fin policy was transferred to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and a legislative consent Motion is required for any provision related to the transferred area. However, due to the continued absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, a legislative consent Motion cannot be secured. Historically, the Northern Ireland legislation in this area has mirrored that in Great Britain and, following engagement with the Northern Ireland department related to this matter, proceeds will apply in Northern Ireland in the absence of a legislative consent Motion. This will ensure that the people of Northern Ireland can benefit from the provisions in the Bill.

Having got through a great start to today’s proceedings, I echo the thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, for her hard work in guiding the Bill through the House to this stage, and for her passion, knowledge and understanding in this area. I also pay tribute to the honourable Member for Neath, Christina Rees, for her success in steering the Bill through the other place in such a determined and enthusiastic way. I extend my thanks to the environmental non-governmental organisations for their continued support for the Bill, and I am grateful to noble Lords who contributed to the Second Reading debate and other proceedings.

Throughout the Bill’s passage, we heard about the devastating impacts of shark finning, and I am pleased that we have had this opportunity to debate, discuss and shine a light on this important issue. I will not repeat our discussion at Second Reading, but I emphasise that the Bill is a significant step in demonstrating the UK’s leadership in shark conservation and protecting our natural environment. It fits in with the Government’s policy. I have on my wall an award from the Shark Trust for the coalition Government’s work in trying to get the European Union to move on to this footing. I appreciate that this is only a small part of the solution to the pressing need to protect the ocean’s richness and diversity, and I am pleased to reiterate the Government’s support for the Bill. I look forward to seeing it on the statute book.

Bill passed.