March 22, 2012 Featured Article Read More →

EU aim to tighten ban on shark finning

Hooked swimming tope2This week the European Union endorsed tighter shark fishing rules to ensure fishermen respect a ban on slicing off the fins of their catches and throwing the live body overboard to drown.

The EU has prohibited shark finning since 2003, but an exemption allows fishermen with special permits to remove the fins from their carcass out at sea and bring back the remainders together or land them in different ports.

EU fisheries ministers meeting in Brussels endorsed a European Commission proposal that would force fishermen to bring sharks to port intact. The European Parliament must now take up the proposal.

While shark finning is forbidden in EU waters and vessels, the ministers said in a statement, “the still possible processing on board has cast doubts about the effectiveness of controls.”

Asia’s taste for shark fin soup is viewed as a key threat to sharks, with marine protection groups saying up to 73 million are killed annually to satisfy demand for the delicacy. Recently, declining numbers of blue sharks in UK waters was blamed on shark fin soup, more information on this research is available here – Shark fin soup “to blame for decline of blue sharks in UK waters”

EU nations combined account for the second-largest share, with 14% of the world’s catches. Many counties, including the UK and other EU countries allow detached fins to be landed as long as the weight of the fins do not exceed 5% of the bodyweight of landed sharks, however, recent research has left many people wondering if the current rules are enough as detailed in an article here – Is the “5%” Rule” failing to protect sharks?

The full article can be read here.

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