Thanks to all your hard work lobbying MEPs, signing petitions and shouting out for sharks, we are making good progress in closing loopholes in the European ban on shark finning.
With more than 165,000 petition signatures calling on EU Fisheries Ministers to make the push to protect sharks from finning and over-exploitation, your voice is being heard loud and clear!
The European Commission finally produced a proposal during 2011 requiring all sharks to be landed with “fins naturally attached” to update the current ban (one of the weakest in the world).
In March 2012, the Council of Fisheries Ministers adopted a position in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to remove Article 4 from the current finning regulation and hence require all sharks to be landed with ‘fins naturally attached’.
Project AWARE strongly supports the Commission's proposal to move from a fin-to-carcass ratio policy to a fins naturally attached policy. The latest is considered by scientists and conservation groups as one the best methods to enforce a finning ban.
"The Commission and Council's support of a strengthened EU finning Ban is a fantastic milestone and the result of years of sustained pressure,” commented Suzanne Pleydell, Project AWARE Foundation Director.
At long last, we are in the final stages of the EU shark finning debate and the next coming months are crucial as the European Parliament now also needs to agree to the Commission’s proposal.
As Europe continues to debate the future of the EU ban on shark finning, Project AWARE together with other Shark Alliance* member groups are now handing over your signatures and a selection of photos and videos from last year's European Shark Week events to all EU Fisheries Ministers.
Given the EU’s influence on international fisheries policies and developing countries, improvements in EU shark policies are critical for securing a brighter future for sharks not only in Europe but around the world.
Your voice is making a difference so please keep shouting for sharks by taking part in Big Shark Shout Out 2012!
*Project AWARE is a steering group member of the Shark Alliance, a global, not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving shark conservation policies.
Underwater photo courtesy of Gaynor Rosier, volunteer EcoDivers from Kenna Eco Diving