An effort by the European Union and the United States to better prevent shark “finning” (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) gained support from Cuba and Norway during this week’s annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). The EU and US have repeatedly proposed that NAFO and other international fisheries bodies strengthen existing finning bans by prohibiting the removal of shark fins at sea.
Fishing nations at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) reached consensus on just one of seven proposals for action on sharks. By the end of the eight-day meeting today, ICCAT Parties could only agree to report next year on their compliance with existing shark measures. Proposals to establish ICCAT limits on shortfin mako and porbeagle failed, as did efforts to change existing measures on oceanic whitetip sharks and shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea).
ICCAT protects silky sharks, leaves porbeagles vulnerable and finning ban weak
Fishing nations at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have acted on one of three shark conservation proposals. ICCAT Parties adopted protections for silky sharks, based on a proposal from the EU, Brazil, and the US. Proposals to protect porbeagle sharks and to strengthen the ICCAT ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) were defeated.
Delegates at an international conservation meeting agreed Saturday on a measure mandating that silky sharks accidentally caught in fishing gear be released back into the sea alive, marine advocacy groups said.
The 48-member International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), however — ending a weeklong meeting in Istanbul — failed to reach consensus on other threatened shark species, the groups said.
Only a tiny fraction of Atlantic sharks – under 1% – are under protection even though most shark species are heading towards extinction, a report warns on Tuesday.
Officials from 48 Atlantic fishing countries are meeting in Istanbul this week to try to protect bluefin tuna, swordfish and other large fish.
But existing conservation efforts are only saving a tiny proportion of sharks, the report from the Oceana conservation group said.
"It's just the tip of the iceberg, and there are a lot of shark species, many of them vulnerable species, that are still being caught and killed MORE
The European Union has officially extended measures to protect threatened porbeagle sharks from fishing.
Noting the depleted conservation status of the species, the EU has recognised that previous levels of protection for this species were insufficient, because they did not apply to all European waters. Under the amended Regulation, fishing for porbeagles is now prohibited in all EU waters, including the Mediterranean Sea, and by EU vessels fishing in international waters. MORE