A complete ban on the finning of sharks of all species within New Zealand waters has been fast-tracked and will take effect from October 1, the Government has announced.
Earlier this year, the Government reviewed its plan to phase out finning by October 2016 and instead introduced a number of deadlines for the practice to be phased out.
However, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says that after consulting the public and fisheries stakeholders it was realised there was "widespread support" to introduce the ban as soon as possible.
It is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to remove the fin from a shark and return it to the sea alive. The ban will also make it illegal to catch a shark, kill it, remove its fins and dump the carcass within New Zealand waters.
The ban will be enforced differently depending on whether the species of shark is part of the commercial quota system or not.
Amendments will also be made to allow fishers to return dead, unwanted sharks to the sea, while ensuring that they are reported and counted against the total allowable catch for the species and against a fisher's annual catch entitlement.
There are more than 100 different species of shark in New Zealand waters.