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.
After years of sustained pressure to close loopholes in the EU Shark Finning ban, Project AWARE together with all our Shark Alliance partners will be pounding the pavement in Strasbourg to make the final push to Protect Europe's Sharks and encourage Members of the EU Parliament to vote to protect sharks from finning when the issue is debated in the parliament on November 22nd.
Over the past few months, Project AWARE with your support increased its efforts as part of our strategy for securing the plenary vote for fins attached with no exceptions by attending many meetings with MEPs and our Shark Alliance partners.
We asked you to make the final push with us and many of you responded to the call by contributing photos to our “Make the Push” photo album and adding your voice to the EU Shark Journey website. Your photos and comments went a long way in showing indecisive MEPs the overwhelming public support for the “fins naturally attached with no exceptions” policy widely recognized by scientists and conservationists as the best method to enforce a finning ban.
Last year during Big Shark Shout Out, Project AWARE encouraged divers to sign a petition encouraging MEPs to support strengthening of the EU finning ban.
In February 2012, together with our Shark Alliance partners we presented the 165,000 signatures to Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon.
Last August, Richard Benyon and MEP Julie Girling demonstrated their support for shark conservation by diving with sharks at the SeaLife London Aquarium.
In September, a confusing European Parliament Fisheries Committee vote took place to end the special fishing permits, still granted by Spain and Portugal, which allow on board processing of fins. While the committee members rejected most of the provisions that would widen loopholes in the finning regulation was defeated, they have, in a contradictory move, adopted opposition supported text suggesting exceptions for completely removing shark fins at sea.
If the European Commission’s proposal is finally accepted, loopholes in the current finning ban will be closed and all sharks taken by EU vessels will be landed with their fins still naturally attached to their bodies, which is vital for effective shark fisheries management.
Please continue to encourage your friends, family and fellow divers to add their voice and contribute their comments to the website as we intensify our efforts in the run up to the plenary vote. Invite your local MEPs to remember their commitment and demonstrate their support and check the EU Shark Journey timeline of events to see what we’ve been able to achieve so far thanks to your continued support.
Find out more about how you can get involved with Project AWARE Shark in Peril campaigns worldwide to end the brutal practice of shark finning and secure trade protection to the most vulnerable shark species.
Photo: Project AWARE Team UK Office