Longliners ask Parliament to reject shark finning ban

Several organizations representing the community longliners’ industry asked the European Parliament (EP) to reject the fin-attached policy developed by the European Commission (EC). They argue that this decision is essential to ensure the fleet survival and the 13,875 jobs depending on it.

The organizations — the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), the National Association of Fish Wholesalers from Mercas (Anmape), the Association of Industrial Fishing Shipowners from Portugal (Adapi) and the Shipowners’ Association from Portugal (Vianapesca) – sent their request to the EP Fisheries Committee through a note.

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The EC initiative prohibits the removal of shark fins on board vessels, and forces to keep the fins attached to the animal body.

The organizations estimate that many of the small family businesses affected will have to abandon the activity and others would have to reduce it. And that would cause more unemployment and less income for the crew.

The four associations agree on the measures proposed in this report so as to achieve an improvement in the control of the shark fishery. And they agree on the need to gather scientific evidence of these species to optimize the management. One of the measures is the requirement to always transfer and unload the shark fins and shark gutters together on the same port.

The entities also consider it appropriate to delete special fishing permits for fishing fleet carrying fresh products and keep the special fishing authorizations that enable the removal onboard for freezer vessels only, as long as a traceability system is implemented, allowing to determine that the fins landed correspond to the unloaded shark bodies, Cepesca reported.

Read the full article here – http://www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&country=0&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=55327&ndb=1&df=0

On the opposite side of this argument, the Shark Alliance state that “Prohibiting at-sea removal of shark fins, and thereby requiring that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached, as proposed by the Commission, is widely regarded as the most reliable means for implementing a finning ban, as it is immediately clear that sharks arriving at port with intact fins were not finned.”

Most EU Member States already take this approach, but the EU finning ban still allows for complicated exceptions which may lead to undetected, unpunished shark finning through “special fishing permits” granted by some member states.

Fishermen onboard permitted vessels can remove shark fins whilst retaining the carcass. A fin to carcass weight ratio limit is used to judge whether fins and bodies landed are in the appropriate proportion though this 5% rule has already been called into question before in part due to the fact that fishermen are able to land shark fins and carcasses at separate times and at separate ports – http://www.tagsharks.com/is-the-5-rule-failing-to-protect-sharks

The Shark Alliance Briefing on EU Finning Regulation can be downloaded here – http://www.sharkalliance.org/publications.asp?language=1&ds=1&level1id=12&rootid=

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