Options for European Shark Plan revealed at last
Conservationists see hope on the horizon in EU Commission initiative
12 December 2007
Brussels: The Shark Alliance is welcoming the release of the European Commission’s consultation document for a Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for Sharks, which, at long last, addresses the plight of sharks and proposes a range of options for improvement. The Commission document, released last night, is now subject to a two-month stakeholder comment period.
"After decades of neglect, with devastating consequences for Europe’s sharks, the Commission has at last come out of the gate with a solid blueprint for meaningful, corrective action," said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance. "Key elements still need work and
vigilant champions, but for now, the document offers new hope for some
of the world’s most beleaguered shark populations. We urge
stakeholders at all levels to engage in seizing this opportunity to
safeguard Europe’s most depleted shark species and start a new era of
responsible shark fishing."
The thorough and relatively robust
consultation document proposes many elements promoted by the Shark
Alliance, including catch limits in line with scientific advice,
special attention to endangered species, measures to strengthen the ban
on shark finning, means to regulate and reduce bycatch, and educational
programs to promote awareness among fishermen and the public.
|A future for sharks?
© Brian J. Skerry/ National Geographic Image Collection
these proposals - as well as multiple initiatives to improve shark data
collection and deepen the understanding of sharks - the document
demonstrates solid commitment to these vulnerable species, at least
within the Commission. The Shark Alliance is also expressing
appreciation of the document’s broad geographical and ecological scope.
With the 1999 adoption of the International Plan of Action for Sharks,
the European Union (EU) endeavoured to produce a CPOA by 2001. Shark
Alliance member groups have called for EU shark conservation programmes
for years and have campaigned in a targeted way for a sound CPOA since
"Publication of the consultation document represents an important step
forward for sharks and the members of the Alliance," added Uta Bellion,
Shark Alliance Coordinator. "It has not been easy to get this far, but
now, at least, the Commission has shown promise by putting a solid
consultation document on the table."
The document is open for comment until February 15 and will be further
developed throughout 2008. It is expected to be offered as an official
Communication to the European Council and Parliament by the end of the
year, after which time both entities will provide their views.
Notes to editors:
The Shark Alliance is a coalition of 44 conservation, fishing, diving,
and scientific organisations dedicated to improving European Union
shark fishing policies.
The European Commission’s consultation document for a Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for Sharks
The Shark Alliance vision for a plan of action to conserve Europe's sharks is available as a pdf in:
Sonja Fordham, Tel: +32 (0)495101468
Sally Denbigh, Tel: +44 (0)7956 517902
Uta Bellion, Tel +31-629001150
Back to top