European Commission report on shark finning regulation

19 Apr 2016

The European Commission has adopted a report on the implementation of the EU’s shark finning regulation.

It concludes that no systematic shark finning, which is the removal of fins and the discarding of the carcasses at sea, is taking place in EU waters or by EU vessels.

Shark finning had already been illegal under the EU’s shark finning regulation since 2003, it was amended in 2013 to introduce a stricter “fins-naturally-attached” policy that prohibits all EU vessels and all vessels fishing in EU waters from removing sharks’ fins on board prior to landing the fish.

The amendment also revoked the possibility for Member States to issue special permits for on-board processing of sharks and made it easier for Member States to control and enforce the finning ban.

Under EU rules, Member States have to submit annual reports on their implementation of the amended Regulation.

In total, 14 out of 23 coastal Member States submitted full reports in both 2013 and 2014, including all countries that had in the past issued special permits for the on-board processing of sharks.

The Commission’s report states that it will continue to monitor the situation and the economic consequences for Member States’ fleets that arise from the implementation of the regulation.

It will also continue to actively promote the fins-naturally-attached policy at the international level to work towards achieving a more level playing field for EU vessels also in international waters.

The report can be found on the EC can be found on the European Union law website.

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