This Shark fin ID Field Guide is available in the following languages for DOWNLOAD:


Species covered in this field guide

This field guide focuses on identifying unprocessed first dorsal fins and paired pectoral fins from the following nine commercially-exploited, large-bodied, globally distributed species that are traded internationally in large numbers for their fins and easily identified by their first dorsal or pectoral fins.

  • Oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus)

  • Porbeagle (Lamna nasus)

  • Scalloped, great and smooth hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran, S. zygaena)

  • Silky (Carcharhinus falciformis)

  • Bigeye, common and pelagic threshers (Alopias superciliosus, A. vulpinus, A. pelagicus)

This guide is based on data collected during the examination of more than 2,000 dorsal and pectoral fins from over 50 shark species, including all the dominant species or species groups in the international fin trade reported in Clarke et al.(2006). Conspicuous fin markings were also assessed for pattern and consistency within species using photographs published in the literature and online. Fins used in this study originated from the US, South Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and included a wide size range for each species. Fins examined in this study were provided by fishermen, fin traders, and scientists. No sharks were sacrificed for this project.