Conservation groups are celebrating today’s European Parliament vote to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea), the culmination of six years of campaigning and debate.
Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to impose the best practice for finning ban enforcement: a prohibition on removing shark fins at sea. The measure faced formidable opposition from representatives of Spain and Portugal, Europe’s leaders in catch of oceanic sharks.
We’re on the brink of a decision. Our long journey and battle to improve European shark conservation policies is coming to an end as the final debate on the EU shark finning regulations and final plenary vote are scheduled to take place later this month.
Last week, Project AWARE attended an international, shark-focused meeting of more than 50 nations, all convening under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). While at the meeting in Bonn, Germany, nations adopted a global conservation plan for great white sharks, porbeagles, basking sharks, spiny dogfish, whale sharks, and two species of makos.
Today, Richard Benyon, UK Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, swam with sharks at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium in support of strengthening the EU ban on shark ‘finning’ (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea).
The swim launches a Shark Trust initiative asking MEPs and aquariums across the country to work together to show their support for tighter shark finning regulations ahead of crucial votes this autumn.
Monday, European Union nations backed a complete ban on the practice of removing sharks' fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to die.
The EU nations said they want all boats in their waters and EU-registered boats anywhere in the world to land sharks with their fins attached. The proposals still need the support of the European Parliament before they can become law.
EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki said the law would "ease control and help us eradicate shark finning," which she called cruel to the animals and a vast waste of resources.
Last week the European Parliament began its work on the Commission’s proposal to close major loopholes in the EU ban on shark finning submitted in the fall of 2011.
The European Commission has proposed ending special permits that allow fishermen to cut off shark fins at sea and land them separately from the bodies under a legal exemption to the overall EU requirement for landing sharks with their fins naturally attached.