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Wildlife Trade Specialists

3D replica shark fins a 21st century tool to support the identification of fins for CITES-listed shark species

TEST YOUR SHARK FIN ID SKILLS

Have you ever tried to identify a shark species just by its fin?

Here’s a photo of a set of fins from the same species and below are five different sharks. Can you tell which one of the sharks the fins belong to? Hit the info circle to find out if you got it right. 

What you just did is what customs officials all over the world have to do in order to fight illegal shark trade.

There are over 40 shark and ray species listed in the CITES Appendices and many of these are targeted for their valuable fins, mainly for consumption in Asia. Misdeclaring the relevant species on customs permits is one of the main ways sharks are traded illegally around the world. The difference is that customs usually don't have a multiple choice sheet, reference photos or training, and they have to ID fins against over 1,000 potential shark species. At the same time as looking out for drugs, weapons, and other contraband. This is where our 3D fins come in ...

Markus Bürgener, Programme Co-ordinator

These replica 3D printed fins are an innovative tool to help enforcement officials combat the illegal trade in shark fins

Markus Bürgener, Programme Co-ordinator

THE 1ST EVER 3D REPLICA SHARK FINS

 

22 shark fins from CITES-listed species were 3D scanned, printed, and painted to provide a training and support tool for frontline enforcement officials required to identify shark fins in international trade.

Discover the full story behind the fins, more on why we made them, and why correct shark fin identification is critical to global shark conservation. 

the story behind the fins

do you want to make your own fins?

Do you want to make a set of replica fins in your own country for assisting customs officials in regulating and enforcing the trade in CITES-listed species? Follow this link to access the full how-to guide and shark files for printing and painting



Check out our full how-to guide and shark files for printing and painting. Our repository of files is available completely free of charge.

    1. 3D scanned files:  3D scan files of 22 fins from 11 shark species can be downloaded below for 3D printing.

    2. Images of fins for painting: The accurate painting of the replica fins is an essential step in the process to ensure colours and markings match those of the real fins. Painting guidance is provided through images of the spray painting process, along with the final painted replica fins.

    3. QR Codes and species ID info: these are downloadable QR codes that can be added onto the 3D printed fins. The codes link to dedicated pages for each fin, providing further identification guidance.

THE WORLD'S FIRST EVER
3D SHARK FIN SCAN LIBRARY

Available to the world, free of charge. Download the How-to Guide first to explain the scanning, printing, and painting process. Below you can access:

  • the entire set of unedited 3D scans
  • 3D scans with the species name and QR identification code included
  • the set of painting guides for each fin
  • the standalone QR codes linking to each species identification page 

Download the entire shark fin set

Download the entire shark fin set with names and QR codes

Download the painting guidance files

Download the individual QR codes

SHARK FIN IDENTIFICATION PAGES

GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR TEAM

Contact TRAFFIC's shark trade and fisheries expert on Markus Bürgener for questions, collaborative opportunities or just to say thanks!

The development of these 3D scans and associated materials was conducted through TRAFFIC's Reducing Trade Threats to Africa's Wild Species and Ecosystems (ReTTA) project, generously funded by Arcadia - a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.