Poland has yielded some of the world's oldest fossils of early sharks from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, including the earliest reported evidence of the ancestors of angel sharks and porbeagles.
In the 1970s and 1980s, scientists and fishermen from Poland collaborated in shark research, tagging, and experimental shark fisheries in the Atlantic, reportedly catching more than 7000 sharks of 25 species.
Today, Poland does not actively fish for sharks or rays, but it is an influential participant, through the EU delegation, in the dealings of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – the only international fisheries body to manage a skate fishery.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, Polish fishermen investigated and engaged sporadically in shark fishing operations in places as far away as the Indian Ocean.
Northwest Atlantic spurdog, however, have dominated Poland’s shark catches over time.
Poland’s reported shark and ray landings spiked from 2000 to 2005, but species-specific data are lacking. In 2005, Poland was allotted 10 tons of the EU total allowable catch for deep-sea sharks; Poland maintained a quota share for these species as the overall limit was reduced (eventually to zero) and yet has not reported shark or ray landings since 2005.
Poland’s shark imports are much higher than their exports, comprising mostly fillets from dogfish and catsharks.
With 50 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Poland has greater representation in Parliament than most other Member States. Fifty percent of Polish MEPs signed the Written Declaration (71/2010) in support of strengthening the EU shark finning ban.
Two Polish MEPs are members of the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee.
With more votes than most Member States (27), Poland has considerable power in the EU Fisheries Council. Poland’s influence in this important decision-making body is currently heightened because it held the Council Presidency from July to December 2011.
Poland does not issue the special permits that allow EU fishermen to remove shark fins at sea under the current EU finning regulation. Polish fishermen are therefore required to land sharks with their fins still attached.
At the March 2012 EU Fisheries Council, Poland supported the Commission’s proposal to require all sharks to be landed with fins attached.
|Beyond EU and international commitments, Poland has not adopted any national protections for sharks or rays (although there are such species in the Baltic).
||You can find a full list of Poland-based members of the Shark Alliance on our members' pages.
Poland Country Profile
Executive Summary | Sharks in the Baltic
Briefing on EU Finning Regulation
Sharks in the Baltic
Concerned citizens, particularly those of Poland, can help by expressing to Polish officials support for:
- active promotion for an EU-wide ban on at-sea shark fin removal
- continued complete closure of EU porbeagle, spurdog, and deepwater shark fisheries
- promoting a science-based skate limit within EU delegations to NAFO
- national protections for endangered shark and ray species, and
- recording of any shark and ray landings and trade by species and product.