Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finning Sharks

Close and Confusing Shark Finning Vote in Parliament 
Loopholes not widened, but not yet closed as battle moves to Plenary

19 September 2012

BRUSSELS - The European Parliament Fisheries Committee voted today in a puzzling and inconsistent manner on a suite of amendments that form their response to a European Commission proposal to strengthen the EU ban on shark “finning” (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea). Votes on most amendments passed or failed by a narrow margin and produced contradictory messages that both reject and support loopholes that hinder finning ban enforcement.
The Commission proposed last year to end the special permits that allow fishermen to remove shark fins on-board vessels.  Landing sharks with their fins attached is by far the simplest and most reliable way to enforce finning bans.  Spain and Portugal are the only EU Member States that still issue such permits.

Shark finning is a terrible practice. Either land the shark whole or leave it.


Ms. Patrão Neves, MEP from Portugal, has been using her role as Rapporteur to fight against adoption of the Commission’s proposed improvements.  Today her attempt to widen loopholes in the finning regulation was defeated, but – in a contradictory move – MEPs adopted her proposed text suggesting exceptions for completely removing shark fins at sea.  In the end, most of her problematic amendments were rejected, but the lack of clarity in accepted language presents a threat to finalizing a strong finning ban.

                                                        Stolen from David Vogt  

It happens in New Zealand as David shows us.  despite being against the law.

" In New Zealand, it's perfectly legal to catch sharks, kill them, hack off their fins and dump their mutilated bodies overboard. The Ministry of Fisheries seems to think it has done enough just by setting quotas for how many sharks may be dispatched in this manner (the TACC for blue sharks alone is 1,860 tonnes!) and pointing out that you have to kill the shark before cutting off its fins or else you could face prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act – though live finning has been exposed in New Zealand in recent years."

The battle now proceeds to a Plenary session, most likely in the next few months.

The Shark Alliance strongly supports the European Commission’s proposal. 

So should we all.     
“We will continue to urge all MEPs to promptly remove all confusion in Plenary and clearly endorse a strict EU policy against removing shark fins at sea, without any more exceptions,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust, a founding member of the Shark Alliance.  


  1. Thanks for promoting David Vogt Photography. Nonetheless, it is illegal to use copyrighted material without permission...

    1. If it is on the web I will use it and link as a rule. If you want me to remove it will do.