Shark Alliance and Oceana commend shark finning proposals

22 Nov 2011

The Shark Alliance and Oceana have both commended the European Commission on its proposal for a full ban on shark finning.

“The Commission’s proposal is a positive step toward the much-needed protection of sharks,” said Sandrine Polti, shark policy adviser to the Pew Environment Group and the Shark Alliance. “The responsibility now lies with the Fisheries Ministers and members of the European Parliament for all 27 EU Member States, who must agree to this proposal as the only reliable way of ensuring that sharks are not finned.”

“By opting for a fins-attached approach, the European Commission has heeded the advice of experts worldwide: landing sharks with their fins still naturally attached is the only possible way to guarantee that finning does not occur,” said Ricardo Aguilar, Research Director for Oceana in Europe. “The current ‘ban’ has been of little value for shark management and conservation, because loopholes make it impossible to even detect whether finning occurs. Furthermore, if all sharks must be landed with their fins attached, it will be much easier to identify the species caught, and therefore, to gather critical data about the status of shark populations.”

Shark finning is driven by high international value for shark fins, but relatively lower value for shark meat, says Oceana. While finning has theoretically been prohibited in the EU since 2003, some countries grant special fishing permits that allow fishing vessels to remove shark fins onboard, on the basis that they keep both fins and meat and that landed fins do not exceed 5% of the live weight of sharks caught.

The Commission has proposed that from now on, all vessels fishing in EU waters and all EU vessels fishing anywhere in the world will have to land sharks with the fins still attached.

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