Monday, 17 October 2011

Important news on Shark Conservation

The EU has unFINished business for sharks

Shark Image Free Vector
Please help us make conservation commitments stick 


The gist
For five years, the Shark Alliance, European Union (EU) fisheries and environment officials, and
members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have been discussing the need to better protect
sharks. While safeguards to prevent shark overfishing are evolving gradually, the flawed EU
regulation that bans the wasteful practice of ‘finning’ (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding
the body at sea) has yet to be amended. At long last, we are in the final stages of the crucial
finning debate, but your voice is needed - now more than ever - to ensure policy makers resist
industry pressure and protect sharks, once and for all.

The EU has made significant progress towards shark conservation since 2006, but there is still
much important “unFINished” business. In fact, more than two years after EU fishery ministers
endorsed a sound Action Plan for sharks, several targeted shark fisheries are continuing
without catch limits, many endangered shark and ray species are woefully under-protected,
and the EU finning ban still has huge loopholes that make it possible to fin sharks without
detection or punishment.
In particular, a derogation in the EU finning regulation that allows permitted EU fishermen
to remove shark fins at sea and land them separately from shark bodies creates serious
challenges for enforcing the finning ban. Based on success in countries around the world and
advice from scientists, enforcement officials and conservationists, the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommends governments end all at-sea shark fin removal.
Such ‘fins naturally attached’ policies not only maximize the enforceability of finning bans, but
also facilitate the collection of species-specific data on shark catches that are sorely needed
for population assessment and management.
The EU Shark Action Plan also includes commitments to ensure shark and ray fisheries are
sustainable and to better protect endangered species of sharks and rays. Yet, there are still no
limits in place for the main targets of EU shark fisheries (blue and mako sharks), and, in most
European countries, endangered species (such as hammerheads and giant devil rays) lack any
specific, national protections.
Sharks play essential roles as top ocean predators and EU policies affect sharks all over the
Your voice is the key to balancing short-term interests and ensuring that the EU Shark Action
Plan is implemented for the benefit of sharks, marine ecosystems, and the EU public good.
It is especially important that -- after all this time -- the EU shark finning debate culminates in
beneficial, enforceable regulation rather than with the continuation of troubling exceptions for
some of the world’s largest shark fishing fleets.
Please sign our petition urging EU fisheries ministers to protect sharks from overexploitation
and finning now.

Save Europe's Sharks Oct 2011

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