Each year, the fins of up to 73 million sharks are traded – the EU is the largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and mainland China
Oceana commends signatories to the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (MoU), for further emphasising the importance of landing sharks with their fins attached. The new global plan for shark conservation adopted in Bonn, at the first meeting of signatories to the MoU, recommends one key measure to tackle the problem of shark finning: legislation requiring sharks to be stored on board and landed with all fins naturally attached.
“A resounding number of international bodies, fisheries management organisations, shark fishing nations, and scientists are in agreement – the only way to guarantee that finning does not occur is through laws prohibiting vessels from cutting off shark fins at sea,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. “Fins-attached policies, such as the one currently being debated in the European Parliament, are a simple, effective solution to this serious threat to sharks.”
Although shark finning has theoretically been prohibited in the EU since 2003, loopholes in the current legislation make the ban extremely difficult to enforce. The European Parliament is currently debating a proposal to close these loopholes, by requiring all sharks to be landed with their fins attached. The final parliamentary vote is scheduled for November.