Shark fin removal. (Photo: seaturtles.org)
Longliners’ resounding rejection of shark finning rule
Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
Several organizations representing the community longliners’ industry asked the European Parliament (EP) to reject the fin-attached policy developed by the European Commission (EC). They argue that this decision is essential to ensure the fleet survival and the 13,875 jobs depending on it.
The organizations -- the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), the National Association of Fish Wholesalers from Mercas (Anmape), the Association of Industrial Fishing Shipowners from Portugal (Adapi) and the Shipowners' Association from Portugal (Vianapesca) – sent their request to the EP Fisheries Committee through a note.
The EC initiative prohibits the removal of shark fins on board vessels, and forces to keep the fins attached to the animal body.
For the four associations, that would imply the increase of the annual costs of the fleet of more than EUR 9.5 million and would affect 2,775 crew members and more than 11,100 jobs on land.
The organizations estimate that many of the small family businesses affected will have to abandon the activity and others would have to reduce it. And that would cause more unemployment and less income for the crew.
Cepesca, Anmape, Adapi and Vianapesca expect the Fisheries Committee endorses the report on the regulation amending the current Regulation No. 1185/2003 on the removal of shark fins on board vessels, issued by Maria do Céu Patrao Neves, MEP of Portugal. This legislation will be voted on 19 September.
The four associations agree on the measures proposed in this report so as to achieve an improvement in the control of the shark fishery. And they agree on the need to gather scientific evidence of these species to optimize the management.
One of the measures is the requirement to always transfer and unload the shark fins and shark gutters together on the same port.
At this point, the proposal is that the port terminals where the government is unable to perform due controls, the vessel captains hire an independent agency to be in charge of the control.
The entities also consider it appropriate to delete special fishing permits for fishing fleet carrying fresh products and keep the special fishing authorizations that enable the removal onboard for freezer vessels only, as long as a traceability system is implemented, allowing to determine that the fins landed correspond to the unloaded shark bodies, Cepesca reported.
On the basis of the scientific data on sharks, what is proposed is that boat owners are required to report the total amount and the estimated total weight of the specimens onboard.
According to the data provided by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the European fleet catches mainly two shark species: blue shark (87 per cent of the total) and mako shark (10 per cent).
Finally, the four organizations stress that currently the available information reveals the good status from the biological standpoint and the capture rates of both species. And they emphasize that the respective biomass has been identified above or around the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).
- Shark finning ban to result in significant loss, warns Spanish organization
By Analia Murias