Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

European Union removes loophole in shark finning ban

Posted: 17 July 2013. Updated: 17 July 2013


Shark finning is responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 million sharks each year worldwide. Finning is a particularly brutal practice. Fishing vessels pull their catch on board, and slice off the shark’s fins whilst the animal is still alive. Many are then thrown back into the sea to die.

This barbaric practice has been banned by the European Union, on board EU fishing vessels, since 2003, however an exemption in the law has allowed special fishing permits to be issued for on-board processing enabling shark fins to be removed from the carcasses.

On 6 June 2013, a proposal to eliminate this loophole in the law was adopted by the European Parliament, with the aim of ensuring that sharks can only be landed with their fins attached.

The European Parliament acknowledged how “Sharks, skates and rays are generally very vulnerable to overexploitation owing to their life cycle characteristics of slow growth, late maturity and small number of young.”

The terrible toll that the shark fin trade has on the species was also highlighted - “In recent years, some shark populations have been severely targeted and put under serious threat as a result of a dramatic increase in demand for shark products, and fins in particular, which are used in soups and traditional cures in Asia.”

Concerns were raised for the need for the current legislation to be strengthened “While the practice of shark finning is forbidden in EU waters and on EU vessels, the fact that on-board processing is still possible has cast doubts on the effectiveness of controls…”

ADI welcomes this change in the law but more action must be taken to save our sharks.

You can help campaign for change and raise awareness by:

  • Pledging never buy to shark fin products or dishes or anything containing products from sharks
  • Boycotting shops and restaurants that sell shark fin and let them know why
  • Writing to your local paper to spread the word

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