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Blue shark © linda pitkin

MEPs - Focus on Finning

Now is the time to close loopholes in the EU finning ban by prohibiting, without exception, the removal of shark fins on-board fishing vessels

Shark "finning" is the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark's fins and discarding the body at sea.

Sharks’ tendency to grow slowly, mature late and/or produce a small number of young makes them exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing.  Roughly one-third of European species are considered threatened.

Shark fins are in demand for the traditional Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup. Among the world’s most valuable fishery products, shark fins often sell for hundreds of Euros per kilogram, while the meat is usually of much lower value.  Too often, this discrepancy creates incentive to kill sharks solely for their fins.

The EU banned finning in 2003, but the associated regulation is fraught with loopholes and amounts to one of the weakest such bans in the world.  A derogation allows fishermen to obtain permits to not only remove fins on board, but also to land shark fins and carcasses in different ports, which seriously hinders enforcement.


The EU banned finning in 2003, but the associated regulation is fraught with loopholes and amounts to one of the weakest such bans in the world.  A derogation allows fishermen to obtain permits to not only remove fins on board, but also to land shark fins and carcasses in different ports, which seriously hinders enforcement.


MEPs called on the Commission to strengthen the finning ban in 2006. The Commission is now reviewing the regulation with a view to proposing amendments in early 2011.


Most scientists agree that the simplest, most effective way to implement a finning ban is to require that sharks are landed with their fins naturally attached.


Written Declaration 71/2010 was launched on 20 September by Jean-Paul Besset, Chris Davies, Sirpa Pietikäinen, and Daciana Octavia Sârbu, from the ALDE, EPP-DE, Greens-EFA and S&D groups. Find out why they launched the written declaration.


The Written Declaration on shark finning calls on the Commission to deliver a proposal to prohibit the removal of shark fins on-board vessels by the second anniversary of the Community Plan of Action for Sharks (February 2011).


The Shark Alliance is a global, not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving shark conservation policies.

Image © Klaus Jost


A majority of MEPs have now signed the written declaration calling for a complete stop to the removal of shark fins on-board vessels and closing the loopholes in the shark finning ban. Thanks to everyone who took part in the on-line action!
 

MEPs explain why they launched the written declaration
Related Links
*MEP Guide
*Written Declaration 71/2010
*What is a written declaration?
*Enforcing Finning Bans(pdf)
*Closing Loopholes (pdf)

*European Shark Week 2010
*Members of the European Parliament launch call to close the loopholes in EU ban on shark ‘finning’, Shark Alliance press release, 20 September 2010

Support for strengthening the EU ban on shark finning
Sign the written declaration 71/2010

Member Groups of the Shark Alliance and supporters across the EU are campaigning to close the loopholes in the finning ban and many will be contacting MEPs representing their country to urge them to support shark conservation and sustainability. 


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