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.
Sharks have a direct lineage to the Jurassic era, predating the dinosaurs. Despite existing for millions of years, it is questionable whether all of their types will see out the next 100. Global landings of sharks in the early 1950s were around 200,000 tons per year. By 2011 it was estimated that up to 73 million sharks were being captured by year.
Today, the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries backed the European ban on shark finning and confirmed that the Committee wants to see stricter controls but the vote on a report by Maria do Ceu Patrao Neves (EPP, Portugal) has led to confusion on the issue of whether or not special fishing permits that allow fishermen to remove shark fins on-board vessels will be upheld.
This is it! In just a few weeks, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will vote on amending the European Shark Finning regulation.
We are calling on the diving community to join us in demonstrating tremendous support across Europe as well as globally for the "fins naturally attached with no exceptions" policy - the best, most efficient and enforceable method to prevent shark finning.
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.
The disturbing discovery by a Phuket News reader of the selling of endangered hammerhead sharks in Kata market has been exasperated by the shocking realisation that the practice is not ‘technically’ illegal.
Gwyn Mills, CEO of Pattaya-based environmental organisation Dive Tribe, explained that the laws in Thailand regarding fishing practices are murky at best.
“It largely depends on where they’ve been caught... There are harsher penalties if they’ve been caught in a National Park as opposed to open waters for example.”