Shark landings at Vigo port. (Photo: Puerto de Vigo)
Shark finning ban to result in significant loss, warns Spanish organization
Thursday, May 10, 2012, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) warns that the ban on shark finning on board of vessels proposed by the European Commission (EC) will mean the loss of more than EUR 9 million a year to the Spanish and Portuguese fleets.
In a report presented at the European Parliament (EP), Cepesca notes that the implementation of the Brussels’ initiative, which requires processing the caught specimen with the fins partially attached to the body, will have an economic and social impact and will cause "average losses of EUR 22,000 a year per ship."
That would mean "the disappearance of most of the 186 community longline vessels catching sharks and the unemployment of about 2,700 crew members," stressed the Confederation.
According to Javier Garat, Cepesca Secretary General, the sector finds it difficult to understand the EC proposal, "as the Community acknowledges having no evidence that the EU fleet incurs in finning practices by implementing the current system."
"In fact, it seems to be a disproportionate, unfair measure, which is based on a false debate artificially generated by environmental groups seeking to mess up fishing," said Garat.
"The European fishing industry shares the ultimate objectives of the Commission to eliminate finning around the world and improve shark fisheries management," he added.
To accomplish this, Cepesca proposes either:
- The requirement to unload the bodies and the fins on the same port;
- The removal of special permissions for fresh fish fleets;
- The authorisation of special permits provided for freezer vessels as long as they use a traceability mechanism to ensure the correlation between the landed bodies and fins;
- The implementation of a Statistical Document programme in all the Regional Fisheries Organizations (RFOs) for shark fin trade.
The Spanish organization clarifies that ship owners are willing to cover the cost of the inspections of independent rating agencies in landing port terminals to certify that no bodies are wasted and that the fins and bodies that are landed match.
"If the Commission’s proposal is developed, not only would better shark fishery management be achieved, but it would concentrate the activity of this fleet in areas that are nearer the coast, as the activity is no longer profitable outside European ports," the Spanish leader warned.
There the goods "would lose their Community status, adversely impacting the resource communities in more concentrated areas."
Garat recalled that the Community longline fleet annually lands about 57,000 tonnes and does not incur in finning, so it just catches 7 per cent of all sharks caught in the world.
- Longline fleet question EU plan against shark finning
By Analia Murias