December 17, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

European Parliament endorses resolution on finning

The European Parliament has endorsed a resolution a proposal to prohibit the removal of shark fins on-board vessels.

Shark finning is the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea and sharks’ tendency to grow slowly, mature late and/or produce a small number of young makes them exceptionally vulnerable to that practice. 

Roughly one-third of European shark species are considered threatened.

Four members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Jean-Paul Besset, Chris Davies, Sirpa Pietikäinen, and Daciana Octavia Sârbu launched Written Declaration 71/2010 on shark finning on 20 September – by 16 December over 400 of the 736 MEPs had added their names, thus achieving a majority.

The Written Declaration is now adopted by the Plenary of the European Parliament.

As a Resolution of the Parliament, it will be forwarded to the EC, who last month launched a public consultation on options for amending the regulation, including a ban on at-sea fin removal.

“The removal of fins onboard vessels and discarding the carcass is a wasteful and unacceptable way to fish. Europe is home to some of the world’s largest fishing fleets and poor European shark policies with lack of enforcement pose threats to sharks not only in European waters but in other parts of the world. The shark finning ban needs to be enforced effectively and we welcome this support from MEPs from across all European member states and political groups,” said Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Finland.

“I would like to thank EU citizens for encouraging us to take action. It sends a powerful message to EU decision makers that these valuable yet vulnerable species must be protected,” added Jean-Paul Besset MEP, France.

“The current exploitation of the world’s oceans is unsustainable and we need to act now to preserve marine biodiversity. Sharks are crucial to the natural balance of marine ecosystem, and this resolution is a positive step towards their much needed protection,” explained Daciana Sarbu MEP, Romania.

“The EU Commission now needs to propose legislation as soon as possible in 2011 with the one truly reliable option for preventing finning – a complete prohibition of the removal of shark fins at sea,” stated Chris Davies MEP, UK.

Although the current EU finning regulation prohibits the removal of shark fins at sea, a derogation allows EU member states to provide fishermen with special permits to process sharks and thereby remove fins on-board vessels. Scotland recently stopped issuing such permits, but Spain and Portugal still grant them in high numbers.

Posted in: Shark Bites
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