Shark fins in boxes for exports at the port in Vigo. (Photo: Oceanan/LX)
EP will issue a statement on shark finning
Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The marine conservation organization Oceana urges the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament (EP) on Wednesday to vote in favour of the strict prohibition of finning so that all sharks are landed with their fins attached.
While this practice has been banned in the EU countries since 2003, the gaps in the current legislation makes it virtually impossible for the measure to be enforced rigorously.
The reform of this imperfect legislation is expected to be authorized tomorrow and to be later approved by the EP.
"With the largest shark fishery in the world, the European Union (EU) has taken the responsibility of internationally leading the shark conservation and management," said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.
"Tomorrow, the EP members have a critical opportunity to demonstrate that leadership demanding a ban that actually works," he added.
Under finning legislation, there is an exemption that allows Member States to issue special permits for vessels to cut the fins on board.
Oceana points out that with the current control system, it is very difficult to detect if the fishermen performed shark finning, especially because the fins and the trunks can be landed at various ports and at different times.
For the NGO, it is essential that the sharks are landed with fins attached because "it is the most simple and effective way to ensure that finning is not performed." In addition, he further argues that "it contributes to the collection of key data on shark populations, since these species are identified much more easily when they still have fins."
Meanwhile, Allison Perry, a marine scientist with Oceana in Europe, recalls that "it is widely accepted that finning is threatening shark populations, so many States have already adopted the policy of having the fins attached, including those countries involved in shark fishing, as the US and Chile."
"Within the EU, the fins attached policy has already been de facto enforced in almost all Member States; only Spain and Portugal continue cutting shark fins on board vessels," he continued explaining.
A study by Oceana concludes that the cost that the ban on shark finning would imply to the industry would be negligible compared to the subsidies received by Spanish and Portuguese companies authorized to cut the fins on board.
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By Analia Murias