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Shark Info 3 / 02   (11-04-2002)

Author

  Intro:

Shark Research Trip to the Gulf of Mexico

Shark Info

  Main article:

Shark Research Trip to the Gulf of Mexico

Dr. A. J. Godknecht, Dr. G. D. Guex

  Article 1:

Sharks in Research and Industry

Shark Info

  Article 2:

Pathological changes caused by fish hooks on the blue shark (Prionace glauca)

Shark Info

  Article 3:

Europe considers prohibiting finning

Shark Info

  Fact Sheet:

Spinner Shark

Shark Info


Europe considers prohibiting finning

Report by Shark Info

On August 6, 2002, the European Commission suggested that finning be prohibited. Finning means cutting off a shark’s fins and throwing the rest of its body back into the sea. This practice is promoted by the lucrative international market for shark fins, but results in the death of a huge number of sharks. Shark fins are the main ingredient of shark fin soup, an Asian specialty which sells up to 150 francs (100 euros) per cup.

The Commission suggests that finning be prohibited within all European waters and for all European ships, even when they fish outside of EU regions. It hopes that this prohibition will induce regional fishery associations to also take this measure.

Within the past two years, Australia and the U.S. have forbidden finning in their territorial waters. The practice of finning contradicts the recommendations of various international fishery agreements and is also condemned in the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA Sharks) of the United Nations.

“We support the better integration of environmental protection in our common fishery policies”, says Franz Fischer, the responsible commissioner for agriculture, rural development and fishery. Fischer added that – based on the problems with identifying single fins – the Commission suggests extending the prohibition to all elasmobranch fish (cartilaginous fish), i.e. to all sharks and rays. “However, the fins of rays could not be affected by the prohibition because the objective of the ban is that the greater part of the animal is used (with rays their fins, Editor’s note) and the fins of rays would be easily identifiable”, the Commission claims. The Commission does, however, recognize legitimate shark fishery which guarantees the complete utilization of the catch.

Finning would be allowed if the removal of the fins on board the vessel were part of a utilization process which would allow the more efficient processing of all parts of the caught shark. And if this were the case, EU member states would have to issue and administer the respective special fishing permits, and fishermen would have to maintain a respective logbook containing comprehensive relevant data to ensure that all parts of the shark are used.

Statistics from the UN World Food Organization show that over 100 million sharks are caught annually. However, shark fishing is generally very poorly documented and regulated. The Commission stated that until detailed scientific data is available which makes it possible to introduce regulations to better protect the fished shark species, these measures would help to maintain existing shark populations. The suggestion to ban finning will now be submitted to the EU Fishery Ministers’Council for a decision.

ENS (Brüssel) / Shark Info



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last change: 06-04-2016 10:48