Strengthening EU shark finning ban
The European Commission proposed today to forbid, with no exemptions, the practice of 'shark finning' aboard fishing vessels in EU waters and by EU fishermen across the world's oceans.
Commissioner Damanaki said: "By closing the loophole in our legislation, we want to eradicate the horrendous practice of shark finning and protect sharks much better. Control will become easier and shark finning much more difficult to hide. I very much look forward to the Council and the European Parliament accepting our proposal, so that it becomes law as soon as possible".
Today's proposal follows the public consultation the removal of fins of sharks on board vessels that run until February, and strengthens the existing EU rules that ban the practice of cutting off the fins of sharks -often while they are still alive- and then throwing back into the sea the shark without its fins.
In fact, allowing by exemption and under certain conditions, to remove fins aboard and to land fins and shark carcasses in different ports, this measure has proven not effective enough: shark finning remains difficult to detect, let alone to prove in legal proceedings. Last but not least, collecting scientific data becomes difficult, which in turn hampers fisheries management and conservation. The Commission therefore proposes that such exemptions should no longer be possible. To facilitate storage and handling onboard vessels, fishermen will be permitted to slice partly through each fin and fold it against the carcass of the shark.